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last updated Jan. 16, 2010
published Jan. 12, 1995
Poll No. 11, December 1995 - On Palestinian Elections
Read more:  Taba agreement, Oslo accords, negotiations, peace process, elections, women, personal status, social issues, sharia law, law, public opinion
Summary: Introduction

• Support for the Peace Process and Palestinian Election: There was, in general, a positive attitude towards the peace process, the elections, and the influence of the individual within society. Those who strongly felt that they had a civic responsibility to take part in the elections were 72.7% ad those who stated that they intended to vote were 78.1%.

• Qualifications of Candidates: There was a large number of people who felt that the most important criteria for a candidate was their personal qualifications. 45.0% of those participating in the questionnaire stated that personal qualification were a priority in comparison to 3.0% who supported family loyalty, 19.9% who supported political affiliation and 17.5% who said that religious affiliation was the most important criteria in terms of choosing a candidate.

• Equal participation of women in public life: Palestinians, in general, supported a quota for women 60.1% more than they supported a quota for Christians 48.2%. Out of the 60.1% who did support a quota for women, 71.6% were men. There was also a great deal of support, again mostly from men, in terms of voting for a qualified woman candidate and supporting equal opportunities for women in the public sphere. A very high number of those questioned believed that they had an individual responsibility towards society in all respects.

Overall, there was more support by men of women's qualifications and participation in public life than by women themselves. Women were perhaps reluctant or afraid of talking about any pressure that they were subjected to during registration. For example, only 7.0% of women stated that the reason why they did not register was because a male member of the family did not allow it.

• Personal status laws: There was a large percentage of those participating in the survey who strongly disagreed to incorporate personal status laws into the Palestinian constitution because of their strong belief that the Shari'a laws must remain the alternative. Out of 29.5% who disagreed to incorporate these laws into the constitution, 81.7% believe that Sahri'a laws are sufficient to govern matters of divorce, marriage and inheritance.

• Effectiveness of Women's Organizations: Most women who were questioned were not satisfied with Palestinian women's organization. A high percentage of women expressed a lack of opinion concerning the effectiveness of women’s organizations which may be interpreted as a very low public awareness among these women, a low rate of trust of women's organizations and perhaps a lack of self confidence or trust in women themselves. Overall, women judged women more harshly than men judged women.

• Attitude of Men and Women: Overall, men had amore positive attitude than women to most of the questions that were asked. This may be a result of lack of sufficient access to public life, less experience in organization. This may also be a result of a difference between men and women's attitudes (i.e. ideology) and their actual behavior (practice).

Women sounded more pessimistic than men in the questionnaire perhaps because they were more truthful or sincere in answering the questions and in general, women do not have such a large gap between attitude and practice. Their responses perhaps reflect more the reality of the situation rather than the ideal situation.
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