The Political Implications of the Hamas Electoral Victory

A Conflicts Forum conference sponsored by the European Commission, Beirut, March 2007

In March of 2007, Conflicts Forum conducted a workshop on the political implications of the Hamas electoral victory from Islamist, regional and Western perspectives. The conference, held in Beirut, Lebanon, presented speakers from the region, including Islamist scholars and leaders, those close to Islamist movements, academics and political analysts, leaders of non-governmental organizations, representatives of non-Islamist movements, and former diplomats and retired government officials. The conference, held over a period of two days, was attended by delegates from the region, as well as from Europe and the United States.

The conference focused on the impact of the January 2006 Hamas electoral victory in the West Bank and Gaza. Participants discussed the reaction of regional political movements to the victory, and the impact of the victory in the Palestinian context. A number of questions were pursued by the participants:

  • Has the Hamas victory had a salutary or negative impact on other Islamist movements?
  • Has the success of Hamas candidates in the parliamentary election — and the subsequent seating of Hamas representatives at senior levels of the Palestinian government — been diminished by Western and primarily U.S. economic sanctions?
  • What are the prospects for further electoral victories by Islamist movements in light of the Hamas victory?
  • What impact has the parliamentary victory had on other Palestinian political movements?

These, and other questions, were addressed during the conference. In order to facilitate a free, frank, fair and open exchange of views, the conference was held under the Chatham House Rule — thus no verbatim statements from the meetings can publicly be attributed directly to identified speakers. For a detailed account of the proceedings, see the conference report which is being published in two parts:

The political implications of the Hamas electoral victory – Part One (PDF)
The Political Implications of the Hamas Electoral Victory – Part Two (PDF)

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