Electioneering in Israel and Palestine

It's probably a bad idea for parliamentary election campaigns to be held at the same time for the Israeli parliament (the Knesset) and the Palestinian Authority. The opportunity for brinkmanship, provocation, violence, and stirring up of revanchiste passions is not conducive for election results that all participants can live with.

Two incidents reported today are clearly aimed at helping Likud in the Israeli elections, but they seem more likely to have an impact on the Palestinian vote.

First, the BBC reports that a row has erupted between the Israeli and Palestinian authorities over the decision to bar Palestinians living in Jerusalem from voting in the Palestinian election next month (January 15 2006).

The Israeli government's argument is that allowing East Jerusalem's Palestinians to vote would give Hamas power. It is hard to see that preventing some Palestinians from voting will encourage the others to vote for moderate candidates. In fact, the decision allows the Palestinian Authority's ruling party to cancel the election and blame the Israelis.

Second, as if to underscore the notion among Palestinians that Hamas is the real power in the Palestinian Authority, news that Zayid Khalil Moussa, a commander of the Izzedine al-Qassam Brigades (a leading Hamas terrorist group) has been killed in a shoot-out with Israeli troops in Jenin. One Israeli border guard was wounded.

Both incidents are of course aimed at encouraging Israeli voters to back either Likud or the new Kadima party, in advance of their March 28 2006 showdown.

Rumours of election fraud in Iraq

With a two-week blackout period between the closing of polls in Iraq and the publication of official election returns, a great deal of speculation is going around, particularly about Shi'ite candidates doing unexpectedly well in Bagdad.

The shortage of external links in this posting on Iraq the Model, is an indication that we're not dealing with much published information.

More updates as I get them. For the record, this is what I wrote before the elections began.

Democrats hold second place in O.C.

The election for the 48th congressional district of the U.S. House of Representatives ended, predictably, as a victory for the Republican candidate, Mr john Campbell [click here for official results].

I previewed the election here.

Despite considerable media attention, Jim Gilchrist, the candidate for tighter immigration controls failed to hold the second placed he held in the first round of voting. Democrat Steve Young is publicly gloating his second place, but the truth is that there was no fright for the Republicans to be had.

Local media comments on the election can be found here, and here.

The special election isn't really a disappointment for the Democrats, but if we take national polls [compiled by RealClear Politics] and compare them to this result, it is clear that claims of a Democrat takeover of the House of Representatives in 2006 are wildly optimistic.