Election Appeals Court cancels by-elections in the Gaza constituency.
Released @ 10:00 GMT 21st May 1998
Election Appeals Court cancels by-elections in the Gaza constituency
Yesterday, Wednesday 20 May 1998, the Election Appeals Court canceled the by-elections in the Gaza constituency scheduled for 29 May to elect a new member to the Palestinian Legislative Council to succeed resigned member Dr. Haidar Abdel Shafi. Headed by Councilor Zuhair Sourani and with the membership of Councilors Hussein Abu Assi and Ishaq Muhanna, the Court convened yesterday to consider an appeal submitted by advocate Abdel Rahman Abul Nasser and Dr. Kamal al-Astal to cancel the by-elections for violations of the Palestinian Electoral Law (1995). In their appeal, Abul Nasser and al-Astal argued that the term of the legislative council, which will end by the end of the interim period on 4 May 1999, is less than one year, the minimum period according to the law to hold such an election. In the hearing, Abul Nasser and al-Astal presented a new argument based on the fact that there had been no Presidential Decree calling for elections, another requirement according to the law.
The Court decided that since there had been no Presidential Decree calling for elections, all measures and preparations taken by the Central Electoral Commission to hold elections had no legal basis. Therefore, the Court cancelled the decision of the Central Electoral Commission to hold by-elections in the Gaza constituency to fill the vacancy in the Palestinian Legislative Council.
The Palestinian Centre for Human Rights appeals to President Yasser Arafat to issue a decree calling for by-elections in the Gaza constituency and looks forward to holding these elections in the nearest future in order to promote the development of democracy and preserve the rule of law in Palestine.