The ICHR and institutions involved in election monitoring demand the Prime Minister to hold inclusive, undivided elections

Ramallah - On 4 October 2016, several civil society organisations involved in election monitoring sent a letter to Prime Minister Dr. Rami al-Hamdallah, demanding that local elections be held on inclusive and undivided grounds. On 3 October 2016, the High Court of Justice rendered a decision, ruling that that local elections would be organised in the West Bank, but postponed in the Gaza Strip.

According to the letter, holding local elections in the West Bank only would “take us back many years and hinder our effort to set the Palestinian house in order”. It would disrupt the partial achievement made by the National Consensus Government towards reuniting both the West Bank and Gaza Strip on the government level. It would also impede progress towards reconsolidating the Judicial and Legislative powers.

The letter stated: “In order to maintain this mediocre measure of unity, civil society organisations involved in election monitoring demand that the government prepare the grounds for holding local elections throughout the Palestinian territory as a whole. The High Court of Justice’s ruling revokes only one part of the government decision. Another government decision would be needed to implement the unrevoked part of the decision. The latter could have been inclusive of both the West Bank and Gaza Strip. As soon as practicable, an agreement needs to be reached to bridge gaps and hold inclusive local elections throughout Palestinian governorates of the West Bank and Gaza Strip. Local elections will be a prelude to holding legislative and presidential elections.”

The civil society organisations, which signed the letter, explained that nationwide local elections would be a step of paramount importance towards holding legislative and presidential elections and restoring real unity throughout Palestinian governorates. This would enable the National Consensus Government to realise the primary mission it has been established for, namely to hold nationwide local, legislative and presidential elections.

The letter was signed by the Independent Commission for Human Rights (ICHR), Arab World Democracy and Electoral Monitor (Al-Marsad), Palestinian Election Monitoring Civil Committee (EMCC), Coalition for Accountability and Integrity (AMAN), Palestinian Human Rights Organisations (PHROC), Jerusalem Legal Aid and Human Rights Center (JLAC), Al Mezan Centre for Human Rights, and Palestinian Center for the Independence of the Judiciary and the Legal Profession (MUSAWA).