Scholarship explains impediments to democratic transition in Middle Eastern countries as forms of neopatrimonialism - a combination of patrimonial tradition and cosmetic electoral procedures. However, this approach conflates two spheres of governance: firstly, the government as a sphere of appointed or elected politicians, secondly, the state's bureaucracy as a sphere of administrative staff necessary for the government to execute its planned actions. The impediments Hamas governments (2006-2007) faced highlight the difference between the two spheres. Accordingly, I conceptually differentiate between two types of government: government in office and government in power. While the Hamas government was supposed to rule, the administrative personnel refused to comply. Thus, the elected government in office faced local-institutional and external constraints which prevented its functioning, and provoked power struggles that led to internecine war and the collapse of the electoral democracy.