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Appel du réseau palestinien des ONG (PNGO)

dimanche 2 janvier 2005

Memorandum Concerning Palestinian Elections

Issued by the Palestinian NGOs Network PNGO

The necessity to enhance institution building in order to fortify internal relations is upon us. We must increase solidarity and coherence, and to inculcate the vital relationship of trust between the citizen and the representatives of various organizations. This aims to enhance the people’s participation in decision making through surpassing the gang situation in the Palestinian community and in devotion to the internal unity of the Palestinian Occupied Territories in 1967, including Jerusalem. Therefore, elections are of great significance. Elections are considered as a tool for freedom in order to surpass plans of the Israeli occupation which aim at weakening the unity of land and nation, while converting it into cantons and Bantustans.

Consequently, the NGOs call to hold General Parliament elections after a period of time not exceeding four months after the Presidential elections. The same organizations stipulate that local authority elections must adhere to term limits.

As we look forward to equal representation and participation by women who will hold at least two seats in local authority councils, we view with alarm the request of some to keep the old laws in place. The request to modify the General Elections Law is in accordance with civil, democratic and national appeal. To maintain the old law closes the door on the political participation and representation of various Palestinian community sectors, particularly women and youth.

We are also anxious about adapting the civil register authority for election votes. If it is done, the door will be open for ’free-play,’ taking the elections far away from the objectivity and probity that the Palestinian people hope for.

In order for the General Parliament elections to become a tool for building a political and democratic system, and in order to activate the actual participation and integration, we as NGOs, ensure the following :

1- The need to modify the election law to be based on the combination of two systems ; partial representation and the majority system (circles), or the combined system with equal shares. This system is capable of creatively combining the state of multiple political parties, and will be enhanced by the partial representation system, hence giving the right to the independent nominee to compete and nominate at the same time.

2- The ratio of determination according to the partial representation system should not exceed 2% of the voters.

3- To adopt the Quota System in order to enhance the positive discrimination of women, thus ensuring that their representation does not fall below 20% of the members of the Legislative Council. This is necessary both in order to surpass the historical injustice that Palestinian woman have suffered, and out of respect to her participation in the national struggle.

4- To reduce the age of nomination to 25 years for Legislative Council members, and to 30 years for the nomination of presidential candidates in order to enhance the participation of young people in the parliament.

5- To ensure the presidency to the candidate in the presidential elections who gets the absolute majority of the votes, meaning he/she receives 50%+1 of the actual participating votes in the elections. In the case that none of the nominees reaches this percentage, the elections should be repeated after two weeks between the nominees who received the highest votes by the partial majority.

6- The Palestinian Legislative elections are considered part of the National Council according to Article 5 +6 of the Basic Law of the Palestinian Liberation Organization (PLO). Moreover, members of the Legislative Council should form half of the members of the National Council.

7- It is vital that the election atmosphere extends to other institutions in the Palestinian community to include political parties, unions, civil work organizations, clubs and various popular organizations. This is necessary in order to deepen the democratic transformation within our Palestinian community and will enhance the mechanisms of participation, accountability and good governance.

8- The general elections should not only be considered as one of the mechanisms to get out of the conflict, but also as an opening to activate the popular work that is based on the participation and development of the work of the PLO towards its restructuring and rebuilding based on democratic participation.

9- The elections are considered an opportunity for the international community to put pressure on the Israeli occupying government to ensure the right of our people to self-determination on the way to implement international resolutions, and to ensure our people’s right to freedom and national independence.