Skip to main content

'Independents' dominate in Palestinian local elections

A handout picture provided by the Palestinian Authority's press office (PPO) shows President Mahmud Abbas (C) as he votes in the local elections, in Ramallah in the occupied West Bank, on March 26, 2022
— Ramallah (Palestinian Territories) (AFP)

Independent candidates dominated the Palestinian local elections, winning 64 percent of seats, up from just 37 percent five years ago, according to official results released on Sunday.

But with established parties infiltrating independent lists, analysts were not immediately able to say how far the results from Saturday's vote truly amounted to more diverse representation.

The polls came after Palestinian president Mahmud Abbas called off last year's planned presidential and legislative elections, after Israel barred voting from taking place in annexed east Jerusalem.

But the real reason for Abbas' 11th hour postponement was widely believed to be a likely legislative landslide for Hamas, the Islamist rivals to his secular Fatah movement.

Hamas, which rules the Gaza Strip, officially boycotted Saturday's municipal elections due to that postponement, but still fielded independents, according to analysts.

Fatah resorted to the same tactic, but as a damage limitation exercise, according to Jehad Harb, a Palestinian political analyst.

"There is frustration from Palestinian citizens" towards the Palestinian political establishment, Harb told AFP.

Abbas on Sunday nonetheless claimed victory, saying the results demonstrated "renewed confidence" in Fatah.

In the city of Jericho, a traditional Fatah stronghold, all five lists competing were independents.

Among the winners elsewhere was Islam al-Tawil, who was arrested by Israeli forces last week. He was elected as mayor of Al-Bireh as head of a an independent list named Al-Bireh Unites Us.

The Central Election Commission certified a final turnout of 53.7 percent.

Held in 50 towns and cities, Saturday's vote was the second phase of municipal polls after a first round of voting in December in 154 West Bank villages. There was no voting in Gaza.

No legislative or presidential elections have been held in the Palestinian territories for more than 15 years.

Join hundreds of Middle East professionals with Al-Monitor PRO.

Business and policy professionals use PRO to monitor the regional economy and improve their reports, memos and presentations. Try it for free and cancel anytime.

Already a Member? Sign in


The Middle East's Best Newsletters

Join over 50,000 readers who access our journalists dedicated newsletters, covering the top political, security, business and tech issues across the region each week.
Delivered straight to your inbox.


What's included:
Our Expertise

Free newsletters available:

  • The Takeaway & Week in Review
  • Middle East Minute (AM)
  • Daily Briefing (PM)
  • Business & Tech Briefing
  • Security Briefing
  • Gulf Briefing
  • Israel Briefing
  • Palestine Briefing
  • Turkey Briefing
  • Iraq Briefing

Premium Membership

Join the Middle East's most notable experts for premium memos, trend reports, live video Q&A, and intimate in-person events, each detailing exclusive insights on business and geopolitical trends shaping the region.

$25.00 / month
billed annually

Become Member Start with 1-week free trial
What's included:
Our Expertise AI-driven

Memos - premium analytical writing: actionable insights on markets and geopolitics.

Live Video Q&A - Hear from our top journalists and regional experts.

Special Events - Intimate in-person events with business & political VIPs.

Trend Reports - Deep dive analysis on market updates.

Text Alerts - Be the first to get breaking news, exclusives, and PRO content.

All premium Industry Newsletters - Monitor the Middle East's most important industries. Prioritize your target industries for weekly review:

  • Capital Markets & Private Equity
  • Venture Capital & Startups
  • Green Energy
  • Supply Chain
  • Sustainable Development
  • Leading Edge Technology
  • Oil & Gas
  • Real Estate & Construction
  • Banking

We also offer team plans. Please send an email to and we'll onboard your team.

Already a Member? Sign in

Start your PRO membership today.

Join the Middle East's top business and policy professionals to access exclusive PRO insights today.

Join Al-Monitor PRO Start with 1-week free trial