Ramallah: Human Rights and Democracy Media, “SHAMS”, in cooperation with the Central Elections Commission, organized a seminar on election acclamation. Dalal Salameh: Member of the Central Committee of the “Fatah” movement, Dr. Hisham Kahil, Executive Director of the Central Elections Commission, and Professor Hani Al-Masry Director of the Masarat Center, and the seminar was attended by a group of representatives of the legal departments in official institutions and ministries, representatives of civil society institutions, representatives of trade unions and chambers of commerce, lawyers, media professionals, academics and researchers, and community activists.
Amal Al-Faqih from the “SHAMS” Center welcomed the attendees and participants and presented a presentation of the study prepared by the center entitled “Acclamation and Consensus in the Context of the Palestinian Experience”. The study examined the political and social factors that pushed towards the growth of the phenomenon of Acclamation in the Palestinian electoral reality in recent years, including the environment of the Palestinian political division, the growth and rise of the role of traditional and tribal structures in Palestinian society, the ceiling of freedoms and rights in Palestinian reality, addition to the electoral system.
The study also dealt with the impact of acclamation on social and political conditions, and its impact on civil peace and social cohesion, the quality of services provided to citizens, and the process of democratic transformation, through various examples and models methods, and came up with a set of conclusions and procedural recommendations in order to reduce the phenomenon of acclamation socially and legally in a way that will be reflected positively on the overall state of democracy in the Palestinian context.
For her part, a member of the Fatah Movement’s Central Committee, Dalal Salameh, spoke about the Fatah movement’s position on the local elections, specifically on acclamation, which may move to a new level through the Joint List in the parliamentary elections. The trend that will constitute a disregard for the constitutional right of citizens to truly vote and participate effectively, and she also stressed the importance of strengthening the periodicity of elections as it is a fundamental constitutional right, which will positively be reflected on the level of rights and freedoms and the ability of the Palestinian people to extract their legitimate national rights, stressing the importance of youth and women participation in particular.
As for the position of the Central Elections Commission on the subject of acclamation, which has been raised in many reports of the Central Elections Commission, Dr. Hisham Kahil, Director of the Central Elections Commission, emphasized that this phenomenon is large and needs to be studied, and he used the language of numbers in presenting the statistics related in the context of the acclamation ratios mentioned in Local bodies, village councils, different partisan and independent coalitions, and the proportions of the population subject to endorsement within the different governorates, and others, through presenting visions and recommendations in this context , in addition to talking about the election law and the principles of the electoral process, how it should be.
The director of the Masarat Center, Mr. Hani Al-Masry, talked about the possibility of forming a unified list to run in the legislative elections, the risks and implications of that, indicating that the elections are programs and blocks, and that the subject of acclamation strikes the issue of competition between them, and leads to non-change and reducing the shares of small lists at the expense of Common large lists.
The participants in the meeting discussed the subject of electoral acclamation as one of the most prominent obstacles to social and democratic transformation in Palestinian society, and the environment that constitutes the continuity of this phenomenon in the Palestinian reality, such as division, and legal loopholes that regulate the various stages of the electoral process, and its negative impact on the level of services provided to citizens and on civil peace and community stability.
At the end of the meeting, the participants recommended the necessity of dedicating elections as a participatory approach based on enabling citizens to express their opinions freely on all controversial issues within society as the first source of authority, work to spread societal awareness of the importance of elections and democratic participation as a national and legitimate right and the necessity of rejecting acclamation in elections as a real marginalization of the citizen’s role in choosing his representatives, and reforming legislation through: Amending the loopholes in the electoral system that allow acclamation to continue and resorting to them. In addition to amending the Local Authorities Council Election Law No. 10) for the year 2005, and the enactment of a law prohibiting the resort to acclamation or consensus at all levels of Palestinian elections, whether they are presidential, legislative, local, trade union or student elections, the necessity to end the political division and complete Palestinian reconciliation as one of the enabling tools to activate the competitive election environment among all Political and progressive forces in society, the need to maintain the neutrality and independence of the Central Elections Commission, and the request of civil society institutions and the Palestinian media to shed light on the negatives of electoral acclamation , and to build community and media awareness of the need to fight this phenomenon, especially in Palestinian villages.