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The Palestinian Municipal Election should include Gaza as well – By Omar Shaban

By: Omar Shaban

The Palestinian national consensus government decided to hold Palestinian municipal elections in October  2016 in the west bank only without the Gaza governorates .It may be somewhat justified that the elections took place in the first time in 2012  without including the  governorates of Gaza under the political division, but there will be no justification  to exclude Gaza  under the  national consensus government which was formed at the beginning of June 2014 . The UN recognition and some Western countries to Palestine as a state obliges the Palestinian political system to act as a state How the political system accept municipal elections in a part of its territories while it demands the world to deal with it  as a state!

I can almost assure that the municipal elections in both regions is a great opportunity that should to be exploited to face the repercussions of division and separation , especially with the ease of completion, compared with the election of the legislative council and the presidency and paving to the  ground  to implement them . The municipal elections in the northern governorates only means that the government of national consensus has voluntarily gave up part of its power, and confirms, unfortunately that  it does not see itself as the Palestinian government for all , in contrast, the insistence of the national consensus government on the municipal elections in both regions will greatly improve its image and put all the political system components in  questions  in case of non-cooperation in implementing the elections . In addition to being a constitutional requirement and  it basic right for the Palestinian people , the municipal elections at the national level is an important additional step to complete the process of reconciliation efforts. The elections of  municipalities , universities’ student councils , syndicates and semi-government institutions are real efforts to promote national unity to face the  division and its  multiple repercussions .

As I understood, the international community will welcome this attitude either from national consensus government or from  Hamas , and it will work hard to help in elections implementation through the provision of financial resources, technical support and monitoring of the elections process.  As a reminder, the municipal sector is the closest to the people more than the  political track, and it opens the way for many international institutions to work with the municipalities of the Gaza Strip to implement large infrastructure projects, which will contribute in alleviating the catastrophic situation.  Holding the elections in the local government sector specially in Gaza Strip will restore the democracy situation and will give an opportunity for the society especially for the youth to participate actually in the political and democracy process .  The young generations that did not participate in the 2006 elections because of their young age at that time  they now  will have the opportunity to choose their representatives in the municipal sector for the first time.
Proposed practical steps :

• The national consensus government clearly declares that the municipal elections will take place in the governorates of North and South on the same day, such a declaration will put all parties in front of their national responsibilities, and in a real test which I think everyone will try to succeed in it.

• Hamas and all of the political forces announce for  their willingness to cooperate and facilitate the elections procedures in Gaza Strip in parallel with those in the northern governorates.

• The civil society organizations , popular and youth gatherings which all the time demands to end the division should to make the election process is the first goal of their priorities.

• The central elections committee in consultation with the official and popular entities  put an action plan to conduct the elections in the state of Palestine and the required guarantees for its implementation


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