the non-governmental organizations members of the NGO Network stressed the need for concerted efforts to provide the appropriate environment for holding the elections, affirming their welcome to the agreement of the Palestinian factions in Cairo.
It called on President Mahmoud Abbas to endorse the recommendations included in the factional agreement in Cairo, particularly reducing the age for candidacy and raising the women’s quota to thirty percent, as well as reducing fees for lists and addressing the issue of resignations required as a condition for candidacy.
This came during a meeting held by the Palestinian NGOs Network today with the delegation of the Central Elections Commission, which was attended by a member of the Central Elections Commission, Dr. Yusef Awadallah and its Executive Director Hisham Kahil, and the committee’s staff from Gaza and the West Bank, and a number of representatives of the NGOs who are members of the NGO Network attended to discuss the preparations and procedures. Related to the upcoming legislative elections.
The meeting was opened by the director of the NGO Network, Amjad Shawa, who emphasized the necessity of elections as a tool to reach the rotation of power, strengthen democracy in its comprehensive sense, as well as achieve national reconciliation. He also indicated that many issues related to the electoral process were dealt with in the Cairo Agreement, stressing the confidence of civil organizations in the Central Elections Committee To push for the conduct and success of elections at the national level.
Al Shawa stressed the importance of cooperation between civil organizations and the Central Elections Committee to educate citizens about the importance of participation, monitor elections in their comprehensive sense, review lists, ensure the participation of women, and ensure that polling stations are compatible with persons with disabilities.
As Dr. Youssef Awadallah, a member of the Central Elections Committee, on the importance of the role of the civil organizations network in particular and NGOs in general as a key partner for the success of the electoral process by pressuring the concerned authorities to amend some issues such as lowering the age of candidacy, increasing the women’s quota to 30% in addition to the requirement to resign He wanted to run from civil society employees and directors, in addition to their role in educating citizens about the importance of participating in the electoral process as a tool to achieve and consolidate the principles of democracy.
In his speech, Hisham Kahil, Executive Director of the Central Elections Committee, talked about the importance of the role of civil organizations as a basic partner of the Central Elections Committee to reach all different community groups and help them spread awareness and monitor the electoral process.
Kahil pointed out that the rate of registration for the elections reached 85%, which is the highest in the world, stressing that the reasons for non-registration cannot be explained randomly and require study by the competent authorities.
He emphasized that the issues raised by civil organizations do not hinder the electoral process, but rather that this increases the number of candidates and voters, and therefore it is necessary to press to obtain those demands and strive towards their approval by the competent authorities, especially after they were presented as recommendations at the Cairo meeting. . He explained that the committee tried to ease candidacy procedures, but the time factor was a hindrance to putting in place a set of amendments that the committee deems necessary. He considered the existence of civil organizations as an opportunity to pressure to obtain their demands, which he deems realistic and logical.
With regard to persons with disabilities, he stressed that all polling stations are compatible with persons with disabilities and their attempt and keenness to ensure that this group cast their votes freely.
As for monitoring elections, which is an urgent necessity, the Central Elections Commission has tried to balance between the transparency of the process and the prevention protocols for the Coronavirus pandemic, as the number of observers has been reduced and the monitoring of civil organizations is limited to institutions working in the fields of democracy and human rights in addition to rotating observers to ensure that there are no numbers. Big of them inside the polling stations.
He called on civil organizations that do not work in the field of democracy and human rights to form coalitions so that they can be accepted as observers for the elections.
At the end of the meeting, the attendees discussed some other issues related to participation in the electoral process, such as the participation of the citizens of Jerusalem and Area C, in order to ensure the participation of all sectors of society for the success of the elections
They also stressed the importance of the role of the elections commission and its relentless pursuit of the success of the elections, hoping that the elections would achieve political and national cohesion and the end of the difficult period the Palestinian people went through.
They called for the signing of a code of conduct between all Palestinian parties, factions and parties to respect the election results and facilitate the process of rotating power. They emphasized their continued pressure and advocacy to ease the restrictions on candidacy and continue their work in raising awareness of the importance of participating in them.