Wednesday, January 27, 2010

Palestine: Call for all Palestinian authorities and political parties to allow unhindered participation in political process

Source - The Carter Center - The Carter Center hopes to observe presidential and legislative elections in Palestine, but will only consider the opportunity if the democratic principles and fundamental freedoms required for genuine and inclusive elections across the West Bank and Gaza are met. These include universal suffrage, the right to participate, and the fundamental freedoms of association, assembly, movement, and expression as enshrined in the Palestinian Basic Law, the Arab Charter on Human Rights, and the Universal Declaration of Human Rights. The Carter Center urges all political parties to respect and protect these principles.

The Jan. 25, 2010, deadline for Palestinian presidential and Legislative Council elections was missed due to a deepening rift between political parties, including arbitrary arrests of political opponents on both sides. The current impasse between the major parties is depriving Palestinians of their right to freely elect their representatives.

The Carter Center further encourages Palestinian leaders to resume dialogue, reconcile their differences, and create a peaceful environment in which elections can be held in all parts of the occupied Palestinian territory. Partial elections would reinforce the rift between the Palestinian people and would run counter to international electoral standards and Palestinian commitments.

The Carter Center, which has observed all Palestinian elections since 1996 and maintained an ongoing presence in the occupied Palestinian territory since 2005, calls on Palestinian leaders in the West Bank and Gaza to support fully the conduct of genuine, inclusive, and democratic elections in 2010. Participation should be open to all eligible Palestinian voters in the West Bank and Gaza.

To this end, and in preparation for the elections, Palestinian authorities and the security forces in both the West Bank and Gaza must halt the persecution of civil society and political party members and allow peaceful political participation by all parties. Further, political detainees in the West Bank and Gaza must be released immediately.

The Center commends the Central Elections Commission for its professional and independent administration of past elections in Palestine. It is incumbent upon all Palestinian leaders to ensure the continued independence and effectiveness of the Central Elections Commission and allow it to move forward with all preparations for impartial elections.

The Carter Center was founded in 1982 by former U.S. President Jimmy Carter and his wife, Rosalynn, in partnership with Emory University, to advance peace and health worldwide.

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