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Electoral System - PLC elections

On the 18th of June 2005, the PLC ratified a new elections law (Elections Law No. 9 of 2005) which adopts the mixed electoral system for PLC elections, in contrast to the 1996 general elections which were held in accordance with the system of simple majority.

The mixed electoral system combines the majority system (districts) and the system of proportional representation (lists). The law divides the 132 seats of the PLC equally between the majority system (66 seats) and the system of proportional representation (66 seats).

Based on the majority system, Palestine is divided into 16 electoral districts (11 in the West Bank and 5 in the Gaza Strip). Each district is allocated a number of seats in the parliament according to population numbers. In the system of proportional representation, Palestine is considered as one electoral district.

In accordance with the law, each electoral list must include a minimum of 7 candidates and a maximum of 66 candidates. Each list must include at least one woman in the first three names, at least one woman in the next four names and at least one woman in each of the five names that follow in the list.

Each voter receives two ballot papers. The first paper contains the names of candidates competing for the seats of the electoral district from which the voter selects a number of candidates not exceeding the number of seats assigned for each district. The second paper contains the competing lists from which the voter must choose only one list.

In the majority system (districts), the seats allocated to each electoral district are won by candidates who obtain the highest number of valid votes in that district. Six out of the 66 seats allocated to the majority system are reserved for Christians. Seats are won by Christians who obtain the highest number of votes in the district.

The electoral seats are allocated to electoral districts by presidential decree as follows:

 District

 Assigned Number of PLC Seast

Seats reserved for christian representative out of assigned PLC seats 

 Jerusalem 

 6

 2

 Tubas 

 1

 Tulkarem

 3

 Qalqilya

 2

 Salfit

 1

 Nablus

 Jericho

 1

 Ramallah & al-Bireh 

 5

 1

 Jenin 

 4

 Bethlehem

 4

 2

 Hebron

 9

 North Gaza

 5

 Gaza 

 8

 1

 Deir al- Balah 

 3

 Khan Younis 

 5

 Rafah

 3

 Total 

 66

 6

In the event of obtaining an equal number of votes between two or more candidates for an electoral district with one seat, or the last seat in a multiple seats district, elections are held between two or more candidates within ten days. This applies to the seat/seats assigned to Christian candidates.

In the system of proportional representation, however, the list which obtains 2% or more of the valid votes is allocated a number of seats in proportion to the number of votes obtained. The number of seats assigned to each list is allocated in accordance with the Sainte-Laguë method, an internationally-approved method designed to eliminate the problem of fractions in the allocation process.

Click here for a Power Point presentation with more information on the new Palestinian Electoral system

Main features of the old Elections Law - Electoral Law No. 13 of 1995

This law adopts the majority system, which is considered part of the multiple majority system (simple and absolute majority). In this law, the West Bank and Gaza Strip are divided into 16 electoral districts to elect the 88 PLC members.

In the majority system, voters choose a number of candidates that is equal to the number of parliamentary seats allocated to the district using only one ballot paper.

Winning candidates are those who obtain the highest number of valid votes regardless of the numbers, i.e., it is not necessary to win the absolute majority of votes.

As with the new elections law, the previous law assigned a number of Christian and Samaritan seats as follows:

• Jerusalem district (2 seats)
• Ramallah district (1 seat)
• Bethlehem district (2 seats)
• Gaza district (1 seat)
• Nablus district (1 seat for the Samaritans).