Show an ad over header. AMP

Abbas announces first Palestinian elections in 15 years

Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas published a decree on Friday announcing the dates for parliamentary and presidential elections in the Palestinian Authority.

Why it matters: This is the first time in 15 years that such a decree has been published. The last presidential elections took place in 2005, with Abbas winning, and the last parliamentary elections took place in 2006, with Hamas winning.


Driving the news: The parliamentary elections are scheduled for on May 22 and the Presidential elections for July 31 — though those plans could still fall through.

  • Abbas met today with the chairman of the central election committee and instructed him to make preparations for elections in the West Bank, in the Hamas-controlled Gaza Strip and in Israeli-controlled East Jerusalem.
  • Last week, the head of Hamas' political bureau, Ismail Haniyeh, told Abbas in a letter that the movement would agree to hold elections as part of a national reconciliation process.

Flashback: After Hamas won the 2006 elections, the Palestinian Authority deteriorated into a deep political crisis between Hamas and Fatah, Abbas' party.

  • The U.S. and other world powers announced they would not cooperate with Hamas until it recognized Israel, denounced terrorism and committed to previous agreements with Israel.
  • Hamas refused to adhere to those conditions and continues to reject them to this day. The U.S., U.K., EU and other Western governments still boycott Hamas, and the U.S. designates the group as a terror organization.
  • In 2007, a civil war broke out in the Gaza Strip and Hamas took over the area by force.

The big picture: Abbas’ announcement comes after numerous failed attempts at reconciliation between Fatah and Hamas, and after several plans to hold elections fell through.

  • Abbas, who is 85 and in the 15th year of his four-year term, is not very popular. Recent public opinion polls indicate he could lose to a Hamas candidate.

What’s next: May 22 is four months away, and many analysts are skeptical about whether this election will actually take place.

  • One of the main stumbling blocs is East Jerusalem. If Israel doesn’t allow allow voting there, the election could be canceled.

COVID-19 drives smell loss awareness, research

The pandemic has thrust a relatively unknown ailment, anosmia — or smell loss — into the international spotlight.

Why it matters: Researchers hope smell testing becomes as standard as the annual flu shot, helping to detect early signs of neurodegenerative diseases like Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s.

Keep reading... Show less

Why we need to know COVID's origins

Geopolitical tensions are foiling efforts to get to the bottom of how COVID-19 originated.

Why it matters: Insights into how COVID-19 began can help us prevent future pandemics — especially if it involved any kind of leak or accident at a virology lab.

Keep reading... Show less

Mexican Americans are the US largest Latino group but lack political power for their numbers

Data: Pew Research Center, U.S. Census Bureau; Chart: Michelle McGhee/Axios

Mexican Americans make up the nation's largest Latino group, yet they remain politically outshined by more recently arrived Cuban Americans.

Why it matters: The disparities in political power between Mexican Americans and Cuban Americans reflect the racial, historical, geographical and economic differences within Latino cultures in the U.S.

Keep reading... Show less

A coronavirus vaccine passport to nowhere

Vaccine passports could become available soon to help people resume their livesbut theyface numerous scientific, social and political barriers to being accepted.

The big picture: Reliable and accessible proof of vaccine-induced protection from the novel coronavirus could speed international travel and economic reopening, but obstacles to its wide-scale adoption are so great it may never fully arrive.

Keep reading... Show less

Senate Democrats reach deal on extending unemployment insurance

Senate Democrats struck a deal Friday evening on extending unemployment insurance in the President Biden's $1.9 trillion COVID-19 relief package after deliberating for most of the day, per a Senate aide.

Why it matters: The deal allows Congress to move forward with voting on amendments to the bill, though it caused a massive delay in the 20-hour debate over the legislation.

Keep reading... Show less

Capitol review panel recommends boosting security with more police, mobile fencing

A panel appointed by Congress to review security measures at the Capitol is recommending several changes, including mobile fencing and a bigger Capitol police force, to safeguard the area after a riotous mob breached the building on Jan 6.

Why it matters: Law enforcement officials have warned there could be new plots to attack the area and target lawmakers, including during a speech President Biden is expected to give to a joint session of Congress.

Keep reading... Show less

Financial fallout from the Texas deep freeze

Texas has thawed out after an Arctic freeze last month threw the state into a power crisis. But the financial turmoil from power grid shock is just starting to take shape.

Why it matters: In total, electricity companies are billions of dollars short on the post-storm payments they now owe to the state's grid operator. There's no clear path for how they will pay — something being watched closely across the country as extreme weather events become more common.

Keep reading... Show less

Chamber of Commerce decides against widespread political ban following Capitol insurrection

The U.S. Chamber of Commerce revealed Friday it won't withhold political donations from lawmakers who simply voted against certifying the presidential election results and instead decide on a case-by-case basis.

Why it matters: The Chamber is the marquee entity representing businesses and their interests in Washington. Its memo, obtained exclusively by Axios, could set the tone for businesses debating how to handle their candidate and PAC spending following the Jan. 6 Capitol attack.

Keep reading... Show less

Insights

mail-copy

Get Goodhumans in your inbox

Most Read

More Stories