|PCHR Welcomes Decision to Cancel Local Election Due to the Lack of Appropriate Conditions for Fair Elections|
|Tuesday, 15 June 2010 12:32|
The Palestinian Center for Human Rights (PCHR) welcomes the decision taken by the Palestinian government in the West Bank to cancel local elections, which were scheduled to be held in the West Bank on 17 July 2010. In spite of the information available to PCHR about the motives that led to this decision, particularly the differences among candidates of Fatah movement, PCHR believes that the cancellation of local elections respond principally to increasing demands to provide necessary atmosphere to ensure fair elections that reflect the electorate's will, and by extension ending the current state of political fragmentation and reaching a national agreement on the whole electoral process.
In its session held on 10 June 2010, the Council of Ministers in Ramallah issued a decision (#01/52A/M.O./S.F) of 2010 annulling two previous decisions it had issued – (#01/36/13/M.O./S.F) of 2010 concerning elections of local councils and (#02/46/13/M.O./S.F) concerning the timing of elections of local councils – and declared that a new date for elections would be decided later. According to the earlier two decisions, elections of the local councils were scheduled to be held on 17 July 2010, and the Central Elections Commission had completed preparations to implement these decisions and to organize elections on the scheduled date.
PCHR had criticized organizing such local elections under the current state of political fragmentation and the deteriorating situation of public freedoms of human rights and due to the lack of an appropriate atmosphere to hold fair and transparent elections. PCHR expressed this position in a paper issued on 18 February 2010.
PCHR has followed closely developments in the West Bank during the electoral process, including media reports about the failure of Palestine Liberation Organization factions to agree to run the elections in a united bloc as well as the differences among candidates of Fatah movement in electoral constituencies, especially in Nablus, the largest local council in the West Bank, which constituted a major motive to cancel the elections.
In light of the new decision to cancel local elections and determine another date for them, PCHR:
1- Welcomes this decision, in spite of full awareness of the reasons which underlie it, and the developments that accompanied the electoral process in the West Bank recently;
2- Reiterates its full support for elections and the need to hold both general and local elections—while stressing that elections should be held only under appropriate conditions, including ensuring public freedoms, preventing human rights violations, and ensuring that elections are fair, transparent and reflective of the electorate's will;
3- Emphasizes that the current state of political fragmentation, the lack of a national agreement on the issue of elections (presidential, legislative and local) and the unprecedented deterioration of the human rights situation can never lead to free, fair and transparent elections;
4- Denounces the position of a number of political factions in the West Bank which call for holding elections on the previously scheduled date and for withdrawing the new decision, or for holding the elections as soon as possible, citing the current state of political fragmentation and the lack of a national consensus; PCHR believes that such a position expresses narrow factional interests.
 See: "On the Call for Holding Local Elections in Palestinian National Authority Areas in July 2010," PCHR, position paper, 18 February 2010.
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