Gaza and North Gaza
In a first-of-its-kind initiative by Civil Society Organizations and civil institutions in Palestine, elections were held in Gaza and North Gaza to elect a female coordinator to lead the activities of the PHRDs Network in the Gaza Strip. The elections came as part of the general meeting held by MUSAWA for the PHRDs Network in its Gaza Office with the participation of the Network’s members (33 participants, 10 of which are female). The meeting was initiated with an opening speech by lawyer Islah Hussnieh, a General Assembly member in Gaza, expressing the great attention MUSAWA pays to women, enabling them of active participation in all life aspects in general and in the Network's elections in specific, and of working towards defending human rights and the realization of the principle of the rule of law. Therefore, Palestinian women should be given the chance to participate in the decision-making process. In the same context, the committee responsible for preparing for the elections supervised the election process and stressed the vitality of incorporating females in the Network’s leadership elections so that they get an equal opportunity as their male colleagues. The committee explained the mechanism for the election process, by which one female candidate out of the total 7 candidates will be elected. This is followed by the voting process, in which all members from Gaza and North Gaza took part. Then, the committee counted the votes and announced the results. MUSAWA gave the members a three-day chance to run for the mentioned positions, starting from June 12 until June 15, 2016. After the three days, the candidates were given a one-day withdrawal period on June 16, followed by a period of three days where candidates could present their campaigns through the Network’s social media channels. During these three days, a real electoral atmosphere prevailed where candidates spread their electoral platforms, and the voting process was preceded by a one-day election silence. As a result of this democratic atmosphere manifested in the participation of the Network’s members, who are equal to more than 240 members both in West Bank and Gaza, participants demanded that elections be held as soon as possible so that citizens would have the chance to practice their right and constitutional duty in terms of choosing their representatives through free and fair general elections, held periodically. This meeting comes as a part of the Empowering Palestinian Human Rights Defenders project, implemented by MUSAWA in the West Bank and Gaza, and supported by the European Union.