Palestinian president restructures Central Elections Committee

RAMALLAH, Palestine

Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas issued on Saturday a presidential decree restructuring the Central Elections Commission, headed by Rami Walid Kamel Hamdallah, the Palestine News Agency Wafa reported.

The agency added that Abbas received the new head of the Central Elections Committee, Rami Hamdallah, at the presidential headquarters in the city of Ramallah.

The committee includes in its membership Lamis Al-Alami, Mazen Sissalem, Kholoud Ashakhshir, Shukri Nashashibi, Issa Mahna, Yasser Moussa Harb, Youssef Awadallah, and Ahmed Al-Khaldi.

“During the meeting, President Abbas emphasized the pivotal role of the Elections Commission in strengthening the pillars of democracy within Palestinian political life,” reported Wafa.

The president highlighted “the achievements achieved by the commission through previous elections, conducted with utmost transparency and independence.”

He further praised the efforts made by Hanna Nasser, the former head of the committee, and his keenness on the role, independence, and impartiality of the committee’s work.

He wished the Central Elections Committee success in its upcoming tasks, and that the appropriate political atmosphere would be available to hold general elections in all Palestinian territories, including the Gaza Strip and the West Bank, to consolidate the democratic approach in the Palestinian political system.

Hamdallah, who currently serves as the vice chairman of the Board of Trustees of An-Najah National University, headed the seventeenth Palestinian government (the National Unity Government) between 2014 and 2019.

The Central Elections Committee is responsible for planning, managing, and executing all electoral processes: presidential, legislative, and local. It organizes, supervises, monitors, and takes all necessary measures to ensure its integrity, in accordance with what is stipulated in its basic law.

The last presidential elections were held in 2005, while the second and last legislative elections were held in 2006. The last local elections were held in 2021.

Palestinian election laws stipulate that local, legislative, and presidential elections be held every four years, and they do not allow the president to be elected for more than two consecutive terms from the date of their election.

The ongoing division between the two main Palestinian factions Fatah and Hamas since 2007 has contributed to the lack of consensus on holding Palestinian elections on schedule.

*Writing by Rania Abu Shamala

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