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Palestinian Centre for Human Rights

Ref: 57/2005
Date: 30 April 2005
Time: 10:30 GMT

PCHR - Election Law Violations Must End

PCHR is concerned at violations of the rules of election campaigning, including those caused by the intervention of Palestinian security services into the election campaigning and those perpetrated by a number of Palestinian partisan entities.

On 5 May 2005, elections of 84 local councils in the West Bank and the Gaza Strip will be held in the context of the second stage of local elections. Campaigning for these elections has started since 21 April 2005 and is expected to end on 4 May 2005; that is, 24 hours before the elections.

In the context of its role as an accredited monitoring organization, PCHR has observed the election campaigning conducted by candidates and their supporters in 8 communities in the Gaza Strip, where the upcoming elections will be held. PCHR has documented a series of violations of the rules of election campaigning by both members and supporters of partisan entities and Palestinian security services. The most prominent violation was demonstrated in a declaration issued by the acting chief of Palestinian police Brigadier Mahmoud 'Asfour on 22 April 2005 directed to all his aides for electoral affairs, commanders of police stations, and police officers and members, requesting that all police members in all governorates "effectively participate in the elections and support candidates from the Fatah movementů" This declaration constitutes a blatant violation of the rules of election campaigning, as the electoral law prescribes that the Palestinian National Authority and its institutions must remain neutral in all stages of the electoral process.

On the other hand, PCHR observers reported that mosques have been used by Hamas and the Islamic Jihad to serve their election campaigns. For instance, on 22 April 2005, supporters of Hamas stuck a poster of "Islamic List of Change and Reform" on walls of al-Nour Mosque in Rafah. On 24 April 2005, supporters of the Islamic Jihad circulated leaflets of the organization's candidates to prayers. These activities violate the rule of election campaigning.

PCHR observers also reported that some partisan entities resorted to violence in their competition to win the upcoming elections. For instance, on 29 April 2005, an exchange of fire took place between supporters of Hamas and those of Fatah movement in Rafah refugee camp. A number of persons were injured. This clash erupted when Hamas named a playground in Sheikh 'Eid area in the camp as "al-Tawheed" during an election festival organized by the organization. This step provoked the Sheikh Eid family, whose members are mostly known of their affiliation to Fatah movement. A quarrel erupted between the two sides and developed into an exchange of fire.

PCHR calls upon the Higher Committee for Local Elections to take necessary measures to stop violations of the law of elections of local councils, especially those relevant to election campaigning. PCHR calls also upon all candidates and their supporters to comply with the rules of election campaigning.

Public Document


For more information please call PCHR office in Gaza, Gaza Strip, on +972 8 2824776 - 2825893

PCHR, 29 Omer El Mukhtar St., El Remal, PO Box 1328 Gaza, Gaza Strip. E-mail: [email protected], Webpage http://www.pchrgaza.org