The Palestinian NGOs Network has issued a petition endorsed by more than 120 Palestinian NGOs to implore President Mahmoud Abbas to amend the Palestinian election law. The petition aims at ensuring wider participation of all citizens by removing all restrictions imposed on running for Legislative Council elections.
The 120 NGOs called to repeal the stipulation not allowing NGO heads and employees and other public bodies to keep their jobs if they ran for legislative elections. Also, lowering the age of candidacy in the Legislative Council to twenty-three years, raising the women's quota, reducing registration and insurance fees, and resolving the issue of sentenced prisoners.
Adding to that, NGOs have called on the Palestinian factions to continue their work to put into action the recommendations that were unanimously agreed upon during the Cairo meetings on February 9, 2021.
The petition’s letter:
Dear Mr. President Abbas,
Please accept the civil society organizations' petition with the utmost respect. NGOs were pleased with the presidential decree issued on the fifteenth of last January to hold both legislative and presidential elections. The Palestinian factions’ agreement in Egypt was another source of joy to the people, too.
Among the many issues the agreement included, there were a set of recommendations that formed an important demand for civil society organizations to ensure wider participation in the coming elections.
Reversing the stipulation not allowing NGO heads and employees and other public bodies to keep their jobs if they ran for legislative elections will not only enhance political involvement but also helps in making a huge leap for the political future. The same case extends also to lowering the age of candidacy in the Legislative Council to twenty-three years, raising the women's quota, reducing registration and insurance fees, and resolving the issue of sentenced prisoners.
Failure to issue a decree endorsing these recommendations constitutes a transgression of the national consensus, which was affirmed by the factional agreement in Cairo and the societal will, represented by the increase in the number of those registered in the electoral action to 93%.
In the same context, this law constitutes a deprivation of hundreds of thousands of our people, both youth and women, as well as large sectors of civil society organizations to run for elections besides causing confusion in the electorate sector by deepening further marginalization.
Therefore, we call on President Mahmoud Abbas to issue a presidential decree to amend the decision by Law No. 1 of 2007 regarding the general elections in order to ensure the fulfillment of the recommendations agreed upon in Cairo 2021. The fulfillment of these recommendations guarantees the engagement largest amount of people hoping to make a real change.
We also call upon the Palestinian factions to continue their work to endorse their recommendations and ensure that all sectors of our people enjoy their right to political participation.
Finally, we plead for the participation of youth and women, and workers in civil society organizations and other affected bodies, in order to actively contribute by calling for the amendment of the election law and the adoption of these important recommendations.
Palestinian Network of NGOs
The NGOs that signed the petition:
Union of Agricultural Work Committees - General Union of Cultural Centers - National Coalition for Palestinian Rights in Jerusalem - Agricultural Relief - Al Mezan Center for Human Rights - National Society for the Rehabilitation of the Handicapped in the Gaza Strip - National Society for Democracy and Law - Agricultural Development Association - Youth Campaign "We Want Elections" - The Palestinian Center for the Independence of the Judiciary and the Legal Profession (Musawah)- The Palestinian Center for Organic Agriculture - Al-Mostqbal Association for Violenece Victems Care- The Union of Palestinian Women’s Committees (UPWC)- Altadmoun Charity Association- Altaghreed Association for Culture and Development- Agricultural Development Association- Al-Tawba Charity Society - Culture and Free Thought Association- Public Aid Association\Hospitals- Women University Graduates Association- The Palestinian Women's Development Studies Association- Al-Sahel Association for Development- Al-Satar Al-Gharbi Association for Rural and Farm Development- Al-Ataa Charitable Society- Brilliant Tomorrow for Homes Sons Association- Al-Fukhary Rural Development Association- Carmel Culture and Social Development Association- The Chairbly Future Association - Red Crescent Society for the Gaza Strip - Palestinian Hydrology Group - Alwaleed Charity- Ard El Insan Palestinian Association - Atfaluna Society for Deaf Children, Gaza- Palestinian Early Childhood Education Programs- Baitona Association for Development, Community Development- Bisan Benevolent Association-Youth Development Association- Hanan Association for Culture and Community Development- Deir Al-Balah Association for Community Development and Childhood- Association of Visually Impaired Graduate League- The Society for the Care of the Handicapped in the Gaza Strip- Roya Association For Development Abilities at Gaza Strip- Zakher association for developing Palestinian women abilities- Salsabil Association for the Future of Women and Children- Aisha Association for Women and Child Protection- Palestinian Amputee Football Association- The Union of Health Care Committees- AlTawasol Forum Society- Wefaq Association for Women and Child Welfare- Al Manal Association for the Development of Rural Women- Land Research Center- Society of Remedial Education Center- Center for Women's Legal Researches and Consulting- Women's Studies Centre- Jerusalem Legal Aid and Human Rights Center- Human Rights and Democracy Media Center SHAMS- Bisan Center Research and Development Studies in Palestine- Dr. Haider Abdel Shafi Center for Culture and Development-Ramallah Center for Human Rights Studies- Women's Affairs Center-Gaza- Applied Research Institute–Jerusalem- Palestinian NGOs against domestic violence against women (Almuntada)- Addameer Organization for Human Rights- Palestinian Crescent Society for Relief and Development- Dar Elshabab for Culture and Development- Palestinian Medical Relief Society- The Union of Health Care Committees- Democracy and Workers' Rights Center- Palestinian Association for Development and Reconstruction Padr- WOMEN PROGRAMS ASSOCIATION- Science and Culture Center- Palestinian Farmers Association "North Gaza"- Palestinian Farmers' Union- Al-Ahlyia Association for the Development of Palm & Dates- Arab Center for Agricultural Development- Palestinian Center for Democratic Dialogue and Political Development- Palestinian Farmers' Union- Maghazi Cultural Center- Tamer Institute for Community Education- Alnajda Social Association- Khaza'a Center for permaculture - Ghassan Kanafani Cultural Foundation- Basma Society for Culture and Arts- Afaq Jadeeda Association- Alanqaa Society for Community Development- The Eastern Association for Agrication - Palestinian Working Women Society for Development- Teacher Creativity Center- Rural Women Development Association- QADER for Community Development- Palestinian Al-Nakheel Association for Progress and Development- The Gaza Urban and Peri-Urban Agriculture Platform- Al-Wefaq Association for Relief and Development- Fares Alarab Association for Relief and Development- Society for the Physically Handicapped People- Gaza Community Mental Health Programme- Ajyal Society for Innovation and Development- Bait Almostqbal Association- El-Wedad Society for Community Rehabilitation- Community Media Center- Peace Club for Persons with Disabilities- Disability Representative Persons Network- Women's Center for Legal and Social Counseling- Journalists Rights Advocating Association- Alrowwad Cultural and Arts Society - Stars of Hope for the Empowerment of Women with Disabilities.