Today’s legislative elections are a historic event as they will allow creating a more representative National Assembly and helping accelerate the reform of the government and security services. With the participation of 11 nationalist, liberal, Islamic and leftist factions, all political trends will be represented for the first time. Nonetheless, many are worried about the results of Hamas that could affect the lay nature of the Palestinian society.
In Palestine and also in other Middle East countries, humiliating the nationalist lay movement is the same as encouraging the Islamic movement. Sharon’s insistence on humiliating President Abbas and isolating Al Fatah, the party in power, has only helped increase the power of the Islamic Hamas. The alarm of the western and liberal Arab trends for their spectacular progress lacks foundation. In fact, a victory of this organization could abort an already discredited diplomatic process and hamper Palestinian relatively liberal and pluralist policy.
However, according to surveys, Hamas would only win one third of the seats, thus becoming an important opposition party, which could be favourable. If Hamas enters politics, it will be more receptive to popular pressure and to government responsibilities. Thus, the participation and election of Hamas candidates in the municipal elections have not made the adopted policies more extremist. On the contrary, the spokesman of Hamas expressed his party’s willingness to accept the creation of a Palestinian state in accordance with the 1967 borders, a statement very different from their previous insistence on the full liberation of historic Palestine. The participation of Hamas in the government could strengthen the political process in Palestine and would allow for the establishment of healthier negotiations, based on the willingness and the conformity of the majority of the Palestinian people.
President Mahmud Abbas, hostage, on one hand, of the frictions among his security officials and the proliferation of armed groups, and, on the other hand, of the US and Israeli pressures to suppress the militants, needs all the institutional help he can get. A government with wider foundations would be more effective than the current one. The elections are also an ace for the peace process. They can help the spirit of civic responsibility and strengthen the institutional structures that are absolutely indispensable for the future Palestinian state.

Le Figaro (France)
Circulation: 350 000 copies. Property of Socpresse (founded by Robert Hersant, it is owned today by planes manufacturer Serge Dassault). This is the reference journal of the French right.
La Vanguardia (Spain)

«Asunción del poder en Palestina», by Marwan Bishara, La Vanguardia, January 25, 2006.
«Les élections palestiniennes, un atout pour la paix au Proche-Orient», Le Figaro, January 25, 2006.