Palestinian Local Elections
On February 8th 2011, the Palestinian government set a date for local elections in the West Bank and Gaza. The date was set as 9th July 2011. This will be the first Palestinian vote held since 2006.
According to the Central Elections Committee (CEC) schedule, candidates’ registration will start on May 25 and will go on for 10 days. Campaigning will officially open on June 25.
CEC figures said 75% of the Palestinians who are allowed to vote have registered. It said 81% are in the West Bank and only 67% are in the Gaza Strip. Total number of registered Palestinians is 1,437,965 out of a total 1,916,803 eligible voters.
In 2010, a similar vote had been announced for 17th July but had been cancelled just hours before the candidates’ registration period was due to close because Hamas vowed to ignore the elections.
The 2011 elections will be held in accordance with Local Council Elections Law No. 10 of 2005
The eligible voter must be:
Palestinians ID holders living abroad are eligible to vote if they have registered and are in Palestine on elections day.
Polling and counting centers are usually located in the same place as the registration centers. They have up to five polling stations depending on the population distribution in the surrounding district. The polls are open from 7 am to 7pm on Election Day.
Each voter gets one ballot paper on which he/she puts an (x) in the box next to the list of his/her choice.
When the last voter has voted, the ballot box will be sealed and the counting procedure will begin. Ballot counting takes place in front of local and international observers, party and candidate agents, and the media.
Each local authority is considered one electoral district. The number of the council's members in each local authority is allocated in proportion to the population in the population center to which the local authority is affiliated.
Nomination for local council elections is carried out based on the system of full proportional representation, or the “lists” system. Each list is considered a closed list in terms of the candidate order. Candidates are ordered based on candidate priority. The number of candidates in the list should not exceed the number of seats allocated to the local authority council.
Any candidate nominated in the electoral lists should be at least 25 years old on Election Day. He/she should be registered in the final voters list for the district he/she wishes to be nominated in. He/she should be free on felony convictions. He/she should not be an employee of the Ministry of Local Government; a member of the security forces; or an employee, a president, or a council member in the local authority unless he/she submit his/her resignation attached to the nomination application. He/she should reside within the local authority he/she is running in for a period no less than one year on the date of elections, and shall not be a candidate in another district or list.
Representation of women in the list
In local councils whose seats do not exceed 13, no less than 2 seats shall be allocated for women. Each list shall include a minimum level of representation for women, not less than:
In local authorities whose seats exceed 13, all lists shall place a woman among the next five names, following the requirements in the previous paragraph.
Local authorities whose final voters list contain less than one thousand voters shall be excluded from the above requirements. In this case, the lists are free to choose the order of women among their candidates.
In the event that a woman's seat in the local council becomes vacant, then it shall be occupied by the woman whose name appears next in the list.
The electoral campaign period shall start two weeks prior to polling day and shall be closed twenty four hours before that day. The Executive Authority and all the bodies affiliated thereto shall maintain an impartial position during all of the phases of the electoral process. It is prohibited to organize festivals and hold meetings in mosques and churches, or near hospitals and buildings or premises used by governmental or public institutions. It is also prohibited for nominated lists to directly or indirectly receive funds for their electoral campaigning from any foreign sources.
Every electoral list taking part in the elections will submit to the Central Elections Commission, within a maximum period of a month from the date of announcement of the final election results, a detailed report of the lists financial resources, including total amounts spent. The CEC may request that the financial statements be audited by a legal auditor.
Winning of seats
Each list which obtains eight percent or more of the valid votes are allocated a number of seats in proportion to the number of valid votes obtained. The seats are allocated to the candidates according to the order of their names in the list based on the Sainte-Lague method for the allocation of seats.
Electoral crimes are punishable by law with either imprisonment, a fine, or both. Electoral crimes include: bribery, buying votes, influencing voters, pretending to be another voter and voting more than once.
Proclamation of results
Central Elections Committee