Haniyah was elected as the leader of Hamas’ political bureau in May 2017 after his predecessor, Khaled Mashal, had completed his two terms in office. Haniyah has been a senior political leader of Hamas for over 20 years and led Hamas to a shock win over Fatah in the 2006 elections. He served as one of two disputed prime ministers of the Palestinian National Authority.
After being dismissed by President Mahmoud Abbas, Haniyah continued to exercise prime ministerial authority in the Gaza Strip until 2014 when Hamas and Fatah agreed on a reconciliatory deal. Haniyah is a popular figure in Gaza, where he lives, and has broadened the appeal of Hamas in Gazan politics.