In a dialogue session held on Monday 11 January 2021 by Horizon Center with senior Fatah Central Committee member Mr. Rawhi Fattouh, and the participation of the CEC Executive Director Hisham Khail, head of the Independent Human Rights Commission Dr. Ammar Dwiek, and Director of al Marsad al Arabi for Elections and Democracy.
The discussion touched on all relevant dynamics regarding the preparations to hold the general elections. Mr. Fattouh responded to questions and inquires about the legal amendments to the law, the coming national dialogue, and other relevant issues. The participants urged Mr. Fattouh to include representatives of the civil society organizations in the upcoming dialogue sessions in Cairo once the presidential elections decrees are issued.
Senior Fatah official Rawhi Fattouh told Horizon Center that President Abbas is expected to issue the relevant elections decree before 20 January. He further said that once the elections decree is issued, the national dialogue will be launched to discuss all matters related to holding the elections. He said that factions will discuss the possibility of forming a unified joint list that would include Fatah, Hamas, and all other factions in addition to independents. He however noted that this might be too ideal thought and it may not materialize due to the many discrepancies in the worldviews of the Palestinian factions.
With regards to holding elections in Jerusalem, Fattouh said he approached several foreign consulates and the UN in Jerusalem to verify whether they would accept hosting ballot boxes in their facilities. He said that we will do everything possible to hold the elections in Jerusalem and we will not wait for Israeli permission to do so. He also noted that the fact that the elections are being held on a fully-proportional system with the entire homeland as one election district makes it easy to represent Jerusalem on the national list. He said this guarantees that Jerusalem will be represented in the next PLC regardless of how Israel will react to this inside the boundaries of East Jerusalem. He stressed that East Jerusalem residents must be able to cast their votes inside the Jerusalem boundaries and not in the West Bank environs. He also said the proposed dates by the CEC to hold the elections are 22 May right after Eid al-Fitr holiday for legislative elections and July 29 for the presidential elections. He said however, we cannot confirm and announce these dates before they are agreed upon and confirmed officially.
On the question of holding elections for the PLO/ PNC, Fattouh stressed that the legislative council elections will produce legally and practically half of the PLO / PNC seats as mandated by the elections law. He said this means that the 132 seats of the legislative council members will be automatically members of the PNC/ PLO. He noted that the CEC is not mandated to hold PLO/PNC elections in the diaspora countries and therefore this issue is still under discussion. He said one of the possibilities is to hold reach a consensus agreement on the formation of the PNC/ PLO once the legislative council elections are concluded. He also said that the discussions in Cairo would focus on the formation of a national unity government, which would be composed of all factions who will participate in the elections. He said that all factions including Hamas agree to the national goal of establishing a Palestinian state on 1967 lines with East Jerusalem as its capital and this should be a sufficient ground to form a national unity government. He noted however that many other issues would be discussed in the national dialogue to make it possible for the CEC to hold the elections in a free, and safe environment.
To watch the session, please click below:
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