Saturday, January 29, 2005

The Downside of Democracy

The Iraqi elections are overshadowing other election news from the Mid-East this week. Hamas "has won an overwhelming victory in Gaza Strip local elections. ... Hamas won 77 out of the 118 seats in 10 districts."

Meanwhile Fatah, the party of PA president Abbas and the not-so-dearly departed Arafat, won only 26 seats.

"The Hamas victory proves that Islam is the only solution," declared a slogan from loudspeakers as thousands of Hamas supporters celebrated in the streets after the results were announced.

Hamas leader Mahmoud Zahar said the results showed that at least 65% of the Palestinians in the Gaza Strip support his movement. "This means that the people believe in the armed resistance as the only option," he said, pointing out that Hamas won 11 of the 13 seats in Bet Hanoun in the northern Gaza Strip, a town that had been used by Hamas members to fire Kasam rockets at Israel.

"It was the second victory of its kind for Hamas in recent weeks. Last month, Hamas candidates won an overwhelming majority of seats in the first phase of municipal elections that was held in the West Bank.

Not such a good sign for the prospects of "historic breakthrough" is it?


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