Mideast reality show to become Palestinian president

'El Rais' involving young Palestinians in political life

25 January, 15:58

    (by Michele Monni) (ANSAmed) - RAMALLAH, JANUARY 25 - A reality show is offering Palestinians something that has been denied to them for 10 years - the opportunity to vote for their president. The show is called "El Rais" - the President - and is produced by the independent Maan agency and the international Search for Common Ground platform.

    The programme, a mix of The Apprentice e Xfactor, is in its second edition and aims to find, albeit only virtually, the necessary qualities among young Palestinians the necessary qualities to take the place of 80-year-old Abu Mazen, who has been the highest Palestinian authority for 10 years even though his mandate expired in 2009.

    "The programme aims to involce young people in Palestinian political life through the mechanism of the reality show," Raed Uthman, director General of Maan told ANSA.

    "We want to discard the concept, that is very widespread, that to be a hero in Palestine one must necessarily be a martyr and die fighting the Israeli army".

    To be heros people have to be first of all "good citizens," according to Uthman.

    There have been no new elections in the West Bank and Gaza since 2006 when they were won by the Islamist Hamas movement.

    The results, not recognised by most of the international community, led to a long intestinal war between Fatah lay politicians led by Abu Mazen and the islamists, producing a schism that still today seems difficult to resolve.

    In addition, according to recent surveys by the Palestinian Centre for Policy and Survey Centre (PSR), the popularity of the president is in free fall, with two thirds of Those interviewed demanding his resignation.

    The 25 finalists who emerge from selection, now being held in main Palestinian cities, will compete for the title of virtual Rais through a series of tests of their general culture, knowledge of internal politics, of the conflict with Israel and their familiarity with international affairs.

    "So far we received full support from Palestinian authorities," said Uthman, "and the foreign ministry has placed itself at our disposal for the trial that will see the competitors occupy for one day the post of (foreign minister) Ryad Al Maliki.

    Not just viewers sending text messages will decide who is the new "president" but also a respected panel of judges including PLO leader Hanan Ashrawi, the Arab Israeli Knesset MP Ahmad Tibi and telecommunications mogul Ammar Aker. "Even if it is only a reality show," said Uthman, "it is an exccellent opportunity for young Palestinians to criticise the political leadership, an opportunity often denied in everyday life".

    © Copyright ANSA - All rights reserved

    Business opportunities

    The information system of business
    opportunities abroad

    News from Mediterranean