Ramallah: Human Rights and Democracy Media Center “SHAMS” submitted its oversight report to the Central Elections Committee, on the first phase of the elections, which took place on Saturday, 11/12/2021 in (154) local bodies, with (222) polling stations with a total number of voters. It reached (262,827) out of (405,687) voters, with a participation rate of (64.79%) of those with the right to vote.
As a monitoring body approved by the Central Elections Committee, the “SHAMS” center’s monitoring team covered the various governorates of the West Bank, throughout the electoral process, and in particular on the day of polling. Previously, the Center trained its observers on the supervisory process, which enabled its supervisory team to carry out their supervisory roles effectively.
In its report,” SHAMS” Center reviewed a set of observations about the conduct of the first phase of the local council elections, in the general context in which the electoral process took place, a general assessment of the process and the performance of the Central Elections Committee, and the legal framework regulating local council elections, and highlighting the controversy over possible law amendments. Classification of local bodies according to the lists nominated (elections, acclamation, no one nominated), and the recommendation as a threat to democracy, and family lists, whether they ran in the name of families or all of their members from one family or contained relatives from the smaller family (brothers, fathers, sons, cousins), ending with the detailed observations of the monitoring team, supported by pictures, about electoral campaigns, security presence in polling stations and stations, polling of illiterate and people with disabilities, overcrowding and public safety measures, and others.
The report dealt with the violations collected by the center’s team in the field, which were related to electoral campaigning at the time of the electoral silence, the presence of security elements in large numbers that exceed the insurance need in many gatherings, and their presence inside the polling stations themselves and moving between stations, and around the illiterate and people with disabilities voting, at a time when The companion is supposed to be of the first or second degree, some of whom were accompanied by persons other than the required and legally stipulated degrees of kinship, or persons who were not primarily related to them. In other cases, one of the election officials assisted these groups in voting in violation of the law, in addition to a number of observations, such as overcrowding and small voting spaces, the presence of candidates inside the polling stations, the departure of the working staff from the station and their preoccupation with the mobiles, verbal altercations and correspondences between the candidates themselves, or between Candidates and the security forces, which necessitated strengthening the security presence in several polling stations, not committing to taking mobile phones from voters in many polling stations, and from crews during the counting process.
In its report, “SHAMS” Center presented a set of recommendations stressing the necessity of adopting the proposals of civil society organizations on the necessary amendments to the legislation governing local elections, whether related to amending the electoral system or immunizing against loopholes that may allow corruption or related to “quota” and increasing the representation of women or reducing the age Candidacy and the promotion of youth participation, finding radical solutions to the problem of “recommendation” whether at the practice or cultural level, prohibiting the candidacy of first- and second-degree relatives on the same electoral list, in light of the risks that family lists pose to the integrity of the administration of the local authority, tightening penalties for lists that Violating the terms of electoral campaigning, especially on polling day, Strengthening official and civil oversight over electoral finance, especially in major local bodies in which the private sector plays a key role in weighing or not weighing certain lists in them, Training polling station heads, staff and staff adequately to carry out their work To the fullest extent, strengthening the channels of communication with the security establishment to ensure that the competent security forces (civil police) are present only in front of the polling stations To secure the electoral process, in uniform, with the appropriate number and weapons, and to educate the security personnel on their roles stipulated by law with regard to voting and rapid, effective and appropriate response mechanisms, as well as to address overcrowding inside polling stations and centers.