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Austrian Representative to the PA Visits PCHR

 

Ref: 03/2006

Date:  09 January 2006

 

Austrian Representative to the PA Visits PCHR

Mr. Leon Hard Moll (Head of Austrian Representative Office to the PA) and his deputy, Mr. Wolfgang Muhlberger visited PCHR on Monday, 9 January 2006. They met Mr. Raji Sourani (PCHR Director) and Mr. Hamdi Shaqqura, head of the Center’s Democratic Development Unit.

The meeting discussed the overall situation in the Occupied Palestinian Territory (OPT), especially in light of the preparations for the upcoming legislative elections slated for 25 January, and the deteriorating security situation. 

Mr. Sourani stressed the importance of holding the elections without delay as an opportunity to renew the democratic mandate of the Palestinian leadership, especially since all political factions are participating. Furthermore, he reiterated the Center’s position that calls upon the Palestinian National Authority (PNA) to take real steps to ensure holding fair and free elections. This includes protecting all aspects of the electoral process and taking serious steps to end the security chaos, which has targeted the Central Elections Committee (CEC) itself.

Mr. Sourani also called for an end to the interference of the Executive authority, represented by the Cabinet and Ministry of Interior, into the work of the CEC. He stressed the importance of enabling the CEC to fulfill its duties as an independent, professional body free of any form of pressure that undermines its integrity.

Mr. Sourani called for exercising international pressure on the Israeli government to enable Palestinians to hold elections in the OPT, including Jerusalem, without external intervention. He stated that deal that allowed Palestinians of Jerusalem to take part in the Presidential elections of 2005 and the general elections of 1996 was not good. Nonetheless, their participation carries significant political meaning, since Jerusalem is a key part of the OPT and is the future capital of the State of Palestine.

It is noted that Austria is the current President of the Council of the European Union.

 

– End –

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