The outcome of the Hamas leadership change could impact relations with Israel and the US, which consider it a terrorist group, and the rest of the international community.
"It is important to see whether this vacuum will be filled by the moderates or a hawk, because this will affect the future of Hamas and Palestinian politics," says Mohammed Dejani, a political science professor at Al Quds University who believes the Muslim Brotherhood victory will force Hamas to mellow.
Islamic Spring misread?
"People are misreading the Islamic movements in Egypt and Tunis. It is an Islamic Spring, but it's not an Islamic Spring Hamas thinks about. There has been a religious revival, but in a sense of moderation and not in a sense of religious fundamentalism."
Meshal was once considered more of a hard-liner compared to Hamas’ leaders in the Gaza Strip. However, talk of a shift away from military action and accepting a Palestinian state in the West Bank and Gaza Strip have made him look like a pragmatist. He has also been spearheading efforts toward reconciliation with President Mahmoud Abbas and his Fatah party, which support talks with Israel and reject military confrontation.