CSOs Call to Restore Constitutional Life and Issue a Presidential Decree to Hold General Presidential, Legislative, and National Council Elections

Date 2023-05-24

LOCATION ًWest Bank and Gaza

Category West Bank / Gaza

Public Statement

CSOs Call to Restore Constitutional Life and Issue a Presidential Decree to Hold General Presidential, Legislative, and National Council Elections

22nd of May 2023 marks two years since the first round of general elections was scheduled to take place, starting with legislative elections, followed by presidential elections, and the national council elections. However, it was cancelled after the nomination period that lasted until 30/04/2020. The number of electoral lists was unprecedented, as 36 electoral lists ran for elections, including 28 independent lists, showing the public’s eagerness and thirst for elections.

Following the dissolution of the Palestinian Legislative Council by the constitutional court on December 12, 2018, and the subsequent postponement of elections, no efforts have been made to restore democracy and hold elections. This contradicts the social contract that is established between the authority and the citizens, as elections are a legal and constitutional right that allow citizens to exercise their right to political participation and hold public office.

The continued absence of the legislative council caused an imbalance in the political system's structure, giving rise to an executive authority that wields control over all aspects of life, assuming both legislative and executive powers. What ensued was a breakdown in the separation of powers, where the executive authority answers to no one, allowing it to take complete control of the judiciary by dividing it and undermining its role. 

Even though the Social Contract (the Declaration of Independence and the Palestinian Basic Law) stipulates that elections are what give legitimacy to the political system, the last general elections were held in 2006. This resulted in a legitimacy crisis on all levels of the ruling system, which is why we call for the reinstatement of the people as the source of authority, for they hold the right to choose their leaders.

Based on all the recent meetings, we, the CSOs, call for the following:

– Immediately issue a presidential decree to hold general legislative, presidential, and National Council elections before the end of this year

– Develop a unified national strategy prepared by all active members of society, including political parties, factions, prisoners in Israeli prisons, CSOs, unions, and the government, ensuring the participation of citizens of occupied Jerusalem in elections, as elections in Jerusalem are a national battle that ought to be fought by all. 

– Organize a community campaign to make general elections a Palestinian priority and promote dialogue on this matter.

– Request that the Algerian president support the agreement on elections according to what the Palestinian factions agreed upon (Algeria Declaration for Reconciliation) on 14/10/2022 to hold general presidential, legislative, and national council elections in Gaza, the West Bank, including Jerusalem, Palestine's capital, and the Diaspora, as the National Council represents all Palestinians worldwide.

 

Signed by:

  • Arab World Democracy & Electoral Monitor (Al-Marsad)
  • MIFTAH ­­­­­­­­­­­­­– The Palestinian Initiative for the Promotion of Global Dialogue and Democracy
  • The Palestinian Working Woman Society for Development (PWWSD)
  • AMAN Transparency Palestine
  • Independent Commission for Human Rights (ICHR)
  • Palestinian Center for Peace and Democracy
  • SHAMS – Human Rights and Democracy Media Center
  • The Jerusalem Legal Aid and Human Rights Center (JLAC)
  • ISTIQLAL – The Civil Commission for the Independence of the Judiciary and Rule of Law
  • Al-Haq
  • The Cultural Forum Center (CFC)
  • Raseel Charitable Association 
  • Front Line Defenders (FLD)
  • Palestinian Agricultural Relief Committees (PARC)
  • Palestinian NGOs Network (PNGOS)
  • Ittihad Society Nablus
  • Al-Ard for Agricultural Development
  • MUSAWA–The Palestinian Center for the Independence of the Judiciary and the Legal Profession
  • Hurryyat–The Center for Defense of Liberties and Civil Rights
  • Union of Agricultural Work Committees (UAWC)
  • Alrowwad Cultural and Arts Society
  • Women and Family Affairs Center
  • Teacher Creativity Center
  • Mothers School Society
  • Health Work Committees
  • Palestinian Association of Visually Impaired Persons (PAVIP)
  • Treatment and Rehabilitation Center for Victims of Torture (TRC)
  • Palestinian Medical Relief Society
  • Arab Agronomists Association
  • ARIJ– The Applied Research Institute Jerusalem ­
  • Bisan Center for Research and Development
  • Land Research Center (LRC)
  • The National Committee for Elections Monitoring
  • MADA–The Palestinian Center for Development and Media Freedoms
  • The Arab Center for Agricultural Development (ACAD)
  • Sharek Youth Forum
  • Women’s Centre for Legal Aid and Counselling (WCLAC)
  • Tamer Institute for Community Education

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