A virtual president for a virtual people

The Palestinians haven’t elected a president since 2005, but now they are finally getting a chance to do so – virtually – thanks to a hit reality TV show.“The President” is broadcast weekly on Maan TV, a popular independent Palestinian TV station. It offers contestants a chance to address the Palestinian people on what they would do on a variety of subjects if elected president. They are grilled by a panel of politicians, professors and business people who, with input from the audience, vote them off – something they can’t do in the real world, where their president is still in office several years after his term was supposed to expire.Thousands of young Palestinians who applied to take part in the show have been whittled down to 15. A winner will be crowned in the finale scheduled for late June and get to travel the world as a mock Palestinian ambassador – and perhaps win a car as well.

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