[The following announcement was released by the Facilitation Office for a Civic Registration Drive, an independent civic initiative in support of national efforts for democratic Palestinian elections to the PNC.]
Public Announcement of a Civic Registration for Direct Elections to the PNC
By the spring of 2012 an internet register for the secure online registration of Palestinian voters everywhere will be completed and ready for use. Palestinians can then register themselves as well as assist others to register through a civic registration drive that will last for 6 months. For the first time it will become possible for every Palestinian, including the refugees in the shatat, to register for elections to the Palestinian National Council (PNC), and to participate in direct elections to the PLO parliament that represents the entirety of the Palestinian people. PNC elections have been officially announced, and are scheduled for the spring of 2012. This civic drive will help make these elections a reality.
The registration model was developed by university-based experts in internet security protocol and elections registration as a public service to the Palestinian people, the majority of whom are not included in the current voter register of Palestinians. The current voter register only covers Palestinians in the 1967 occupied Palestinian homeland, largely excluding Jerusalem, and was created by the Palestinian National Authority for the Palestinian Legislative Council (PLC). The PLC is itself incorporated into the PNC, and represents Palestinians from the 1967 occupied Palestine inside of it.
Tools for disenfranchised Palestinians to prepare and carry out a voter registration in all locations are published on PalestiniansRegister, the website of the civic registration drive. The website also explains how every Palestinian can assist in registering Palestinians who have never had the chance to vote in democratic elections to the PNC.
Elsewhere on this website you will find details of Palestinian civic associations’ Campaign for Voter Registration, a decentralized but coordinated campaign building towards the reality of democratic PNC elections, where the voices of each are heard. The immense challenges facing Palestinians in their search for democratic national participation require the dedicated and concerted efforts of civil society to overcome these obstacles. All Palestinians, individuals and associations, can join the civic campaign for voter registration in order to create the first-ever register of Palestinian voters for PNC elections. All the skills, energies and resources of Palestinian society can come together across borders to contribute to this common goal.
The announcement of the creation of a civic mechanism for voter registration is launched today November the 11th, on the anniversary of the death of the late President Yasser Arafat, Chair of the PLO (Abu ‘Ammar). Forty years ago on November 13th 1974, his historic speech at the United Nations paved the way to the international recognition of the PLO as the sole legitimate representative of the Palestinian people, and confirmed international recognition of the inalienable rights of the Palestinian people, foremost the right to return to our homes and properties and our right to self-determination. Today’s announcement builds on this heritage of the PLO as a liberation movement that unites, represents and advances the rights of all Palestinians as one people.
It is understood that a directly elected democratic PNC is the most effective means to affirm and advance Palestinian rights, end internal division, restore and strengthen our national liberation movement, and reactivate the PLO on a democratic basis so that it can represent the will of the entire Palestinian people. Creating a comprehensive register of Palestinian voters is the necessary first step, and the responsibility of all Palestinians to ensure, because Palestinians outside the occupied West Bank and Gaza Strip have never had a voter register for PNC elections. Those inside the West Bank and Gaza are registered for PLC elections, and the PLC is incorporated into the PNC, representing that part of the Palestinian people in it.
Today’s announcement for the civic voter registration drive is a call for a unique collective Palestinian endeavour that must be accomplished through each Palestinian’s own contribution to the Palestinian national polity. This is neither a campaign nor a `project’ of an NGO funded by international donors, but instead a civic endeavour carried out by civil society to support its national institutions, funded and run entirely by Palestinian civil society. It is not an initiative of a political group or committee that has given itself the mandate to ‘rescue’ or rebuild the PLO. It belongs to all Palestinians, individuals, associations, parties, unions, coalitions and networks, whose skills, energies and resources must contribute in order to enfranchise all Palestinians. Every Palestinian voice counts, and each is needed.
Successful implementation of voter registration requires collective effort to be divided into two phases: a first six-month-period of preparations, beginning today, and a second six-month-phase, beginning in the spring of 2012, when the online registration of voters can actually start, and be undertaken in all locations where Palestinians are not yet registered to vote for the PNC. Public awareness and resources must be raised, and national and international protection and support engaged, in order to achieve a large online register of Palestinian voters.
The facilitation office of the civic registration drive was created by Palestinian individuals and groups as volunteers. It provides basic services and assistance to the registration campaign in order to ensure its success, including technical and logistical support with the set-up of the internet registration system in all locations, civic registration training, basic materials for public information and campaigning, and the search for national and international protection and support.
As safe and secure online registration for PNC elections will soon be possible for all Palestinians, we call upon Palestinians everywhere, in particular our disenfranchised refugees in the shatat and the youth and their associations in historic Palestine and outside of it, to assume an active role in preparation of online voter registration by:
- Raising awareness in Palestinian communities in your area of the forthcoming registration, and the importance of the role of the PLO and of democratic elections to its sovereign body, the Palestine National Council;
- Mobilizing public resources for the registration drive, including volunteers, facilities, equipment and funds;
- Getting in touch with the civil association’s Campaign for Voter Registration in order to join.
- Participating in logistical preparations and training for voter registration in your geographic area.
For enquiries about participation in organising voter registration, please contact: email@example.com