Letter from Civil Society Institutions Addressed to the Prime Minister Calling for an Urgent Decision Regarding the Holding of Local Elections in Gaza

2023-08-22

ًWest Bank and Gaza

West Bank / Gaza / position paper

CSOs Letter to the Prime Minister Calling on him for Immediate Decision on Local Council Elections Date in Gaza

 

Your Excellency the Palestinian Prime Minister Dr. Mohammad Shtayyeh

Subject: Local Elections in Gaza

Elections in Gaza represent an urgent need, given that Gaza has been denied the right, in three elections phases, to participate in elections, mainly due to political reasons. Therefore, the undersigned organizations stress that holding and participating in local elections in Gaza is a natural right for citizens that should not be constrained by any party.

The signatory organizations followed the developments of the social dialogue on local elections that took place in Gaza for more than two years, during which CSOs made significant efforts to push for the holding of local elections with the participation of the National and Islamic factions, and they expressed satisfaction with the dialogue's outcomes, which were revealed at the national meeting held in Gaza on August 14, 2023.

This due to CSOs belief that local elections can alleviate citizens' suffering, while also respecting the inherent right guaranteed by the Basic Law for citizens to participate and choose their representatives in governance and administrations.  They see it as a ray of hope for national unity, a path out of division, and a way to unite our national institutions in the West Bank and Gaza.

We call on your excellency and your esteemed council to issue an immediate decision setting the date of the third stage of local elections to be overseen by the Central Elections Commission, as two stages of the fourth phase of elections have already been completed. These elections will include (27) Councils in the West Bank where elections did not take place in the first and second phases, as well as (35) Councils in the West Bank where elections were supposed to take place but failed to do so, in addition to (25) local councils in Gaza with an estimated voter turnout of over one million.

We applaud all efforts made, and we will continue to work with the various parties in Gaza to maintain the current positive spirit and to create an appropriate and suitable environment for this process to proceed swiftly and transparently. This includes promoting public liberites and respecting freedom of expression and opinion, as well as the right to peaceful assembly, in order to provide a suitable electoral environment for fair and free democratic elections.  We, the signatory organizations hope that the Central Elections Commission will visit Gaza soon.

Sincerely,

Palestinian NGOs Network (PNGO),

Independent Commission for Human Rights (ICHR),

AMAN - Coalition for Accountability and Integrity,

Arab World Democracy and Electoral Monitor,

Al-Haq Organization,

Palestinian Centre for Human Rights (PCHR),

MUSAWA ­– The Palestinian Center for the Independence of the Judiciary and the Legal Profession,

Al-Mezan Center for Human Rights

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