The Palestinian NGOs' Network women's sector held a meeting with several Palestinian national factions and women’s frameworks representatives to discuss the elections in terms of women's participation. The sector talked about women's commitment and obstacles regarding the electoral process after the presidential decrees paving the way for the parliamentarian, presidential and general council elections next May.
Amjad Al Shawa, PNGO director, started the meeting by stressing the importance of ensuring the participation of youth and women and by providing what is needed to guarantee their participation, whether in voting or running, and lowering the age of candidacy limit and increasing women’s quota of not less than 30%.
After reviewing many election laws in the Arab region, Al Shawa expressed, the Palestinian election law is, unfortunately, the only one that places restrictions on the participation of important society segments. Department heads and directors of civil society organizations are required to resign before running for elections. Also, the relatively imposed high financial insurance on lists is a limiting factor for participation as well.
For her part, Nadia Abu Nahleh, coordinator of the women's sector in the Network, pointed to the challenges facing women empowering them to reach decision-making positions, as well as the existing need to increase their representation on the electoral lists in accordance with the decision of the Central Council of the PLO.
In the same context, the attendees emphasized the need for women representation within the national and political factions talks in Cairo, which are to be held during the next week. Adding to that, it is vital for women to have representation within political frameworks and parties or to exist within civil society organizations as observers.
Moreover, they demanded that political parties adhere to the representation of women on the lists by not less than 30%. The proposed quota of 26% does not meet the aspirations of Palestinian women and does not fulfil the national obligations made by the National and Central Council nor the agreements to which the State of Palestine has committed to.
Finally, the attendees called on national and political parties in their next meeting in Cairo to lower the age limit for candidacy, increase women's quota, make candidacy criteria possible for most people, and make up a political roadmap for the elections as a national and democratic struggle battle that needs to be won.