Pal-Think starts activities for project “Towards a Society More Aware of its Electoral Rights”
As part of its role in enhancing society members’ awareness and promoting the principles of democracy in the Palestinian society, Pal-Think has started implementing the activities of the project, “Towards a Society More Aware of its Electoral Rights.” The project is implemented in partnership with the Central Election Commission and funded by the European Union in cooperation with Civil Society Institutions 2021 Phase 2.
4 out of 35 awareness-raising sessions targeting women, men, and youth were held in Umm al-Nassir village and Nussirat camp in cooperation with the civil society institutions.
The first session was held in collaboration with the Zina Cooperative Association in Umm al-Nasr Village, and it was entitled “Mechanisms for raising women’s political participation” and attended by a group of women. Belal Elnajar, the project coordinator, underlined that these activities are implemented in partnership with the Central Election Commission and funded by the European Union in cooperation with Civil Society Institutions. He also highlighted that the project “Towards a Society More Aware of its Electoral Rights” aims to enhance society members’ awareness of electoral issues and to encourage them to participate in any future electoral process. A series of activities will be carried out within the project. This includes 35 awareness-raising sessions implemented to increase the awareness of the target group on issues regarding the Palestinian electoral system, the stages of the electoral process, the procedures for each phase, the monitoring mechanism for the electoral process, the conditions for candidacy and election, how the electoral process is fair, the mechanism for encouraging the participation of the community in the election, the importance of political participation, the principles of democracy. The project also aims to introduce the Central Election Commission. The project’s activities will also include designing and printing brochures on the Palestinian electoral system, implementing 8 podcast episodes, designing awareness videos, mural paintings, and launching a lobbying and advocacy campaign aiming at getting society’s attention to the importance of accelerating fair elections and its positive impact in all spheres of life.
In turn, the facilitator Samia Al-Ghosen, emphasized the importance of women’s participation in political life and the need to raise their awareness on political rights and participation in all stages of the electoral process, in particular voter registration. She also talked about the need for women to participate in all aspects of public life. Furthermore, she explained the definition of the quota system for women according to Law No. 1 on Palestinian General Elections of 2007, as amended by 2021, and its types and stages of development in Palestinian elections. She indicated that in the total number of voters, the percentage of women registered reached 49% which is a great voting force if Palestinian women are able to recognize and make the best use of this power.
The second meeting, entitled “Stages of the electoral process and the special procedures for each stage,” was held in the village of Umm al-Nassr in cooperation with the Zina association and attended by a number of men.
Samia Al-Ghosn talked about the significance of general elections as one of the key features of any democratic system, emphasizing the need for them to be held periodically and permanently to lead to a peaceful circulation of power.
Some other topics were also visited, such as the nature of the electoral system, the development stages of the Palestine electoral system, and the stages of the electoral process, the political campaigning phase, the preparation of the initial and final voter registration, the candidacy stage, the publicity phase, the polling phase, the counting phase, and the announcement of the final results.
At the third meeting, entitled “The Palestinian electoral system” and held in Nussirat in cooperation with the Al-Aqsa Sports Club, the presenter spoke about the political and democratic rights of women, the concept of the Palestinian electoral system, the stages of the electoral process and the basic role of citizens at every stage of the electoral process.
The fourth session was conducted by the lawyer Walid Abu Jahl. It was held in the Nussirat camp in cooperation with the Al-Aqsa Sports Club and attended by a group of young people. It was entitled “conditions for candidacy and election and the role of the Central electoral commission.” He presented the conditions for candidacy and election in legislative and presidential elections according to the General Elections Act and its amendments. He also highlighted the role of the Central Election Commission during the various stages of the electoral process: preparing a general perception of the stages of the electoral process, preparing plans for their implementation, preparing the initial and final voter registration, raising voters’ awareness of the importance of elections and how to participate in elections, adopt electoral lists, candidates and independent candidates, accreditation of domestic and international observers, party agents and independent candidates, coordinate with all stakeholders in the electoral process, recruit and train electoral staff, and finally archive all electoral documents and files.”
The sessions included a series of questions and discussions that have been answered by the facilitators. The attendees confirmed the importance of implementing such sessions, which help raise awareness among citizens about their electoral rights and encourage them to participate in any future electoral process.