On January 25, 2006, Palestinians in the West Bank and Gaza Strip cast their votes for a new Palestinian Legislative Council (PLC). Hamas, which had not contested the previous PLC elections a decade earlier, was strongly tipped to do well.
The U.S. had spent $2 million to try and thwart a Hamas victory, a sum dwarfing the campaign coffers of other parties. The money funded “dozens of quick projects…to bolster the governing Fatah faction’s image with voters,” and focused on “constituencies where Hamas was doing well.”
It was money spent in vain. Hamas won 74 of 132 seats in the PLC, while Fatah, the long-dominant faction within the Palestine Liberation Organization (PLO) and the Palestinian National Authority (PA), secured just 45. The new parliament was inaugurated on February 18, 2006. Read more