Tuesday, 27 September. 2022
Your Key to Palestine
The Palestinian Initiatives for The Promotoion of Global Dialogue and Democracy

Ramallah – 15/3/2022 – MIFTAH recently held two dialogue sessions on the views of electoral lists regarding the second round of local council elections, slated for March 26. The meetings were attended by representatives of electoral lists from various West Bank districts, in a bid to create interactive spaces within the voter public through highlighting the topics covered by their platforms pertaining to youth and women.

The two sessions included a discussion of several points, most importantly, how the different electoral platforms address women and youth issues, and the solutions posed by these platforms for the challenges facing marginalized sectors. The discussions also addressed the role of candidates in highlighting the role of local councils in promoting concepts of citizenship and civil and democratic values as a way of rising above tribal affiliations.

Participant presentations revolved around the importance of the role of women and youth in local elections, pointing to their most significant challenges. The absence of youth was at the top of the list, a challenge electoral blocs are seeking to remedy. They are trying to increase the political participation of youth by raising awareness over the importance of these elections, investment in democratic spaces and promoting and integrating social sectors in planning and accountability committees to overcome the present gap between the public and local councils.

The participants also confirmed the need to expand the concept of citizenship, which focuses on rights and duties, in order to achieve equal and just access to services. In addition, they stressed on the role of youth and women in local government towards promoting the concepts of citizenship over and above narrow affiliations. The participants maintained that the consolidation of citizenship practices would help candidates create partnership spaces through the creation of coalitions capable of running local councils, without resorting to polarization at the expense of citizen services.

The candidates pointed to the many challenges and priorities facing municipalities, saying their electoral platforms are focused on the importance of investing in the role of youth and women in handling the different challenges and crises. They maintained that youth participation in local elections stood at 59%, which is an indication of the desire for real change in the handling of current crises pertaining to the administration of local councils and the involvement of social sectors in planning and building platforms. Ultimately, they said, the objective is to revive the oversight role of citizens over local councils in order to develop services and programs and protect them from corruption.

Hassan Mahareeq, officer within MIFTAH’s policy unit, said these dialogue sessions were part of the organization’s discussions on electoral platforms, how they deal with women and youth issues and shed light on the various challenges. This is in addition to the platforms’ approaches in creating participatory and integrative spaces for various social sectors, especially women and youth and their push for local policies capable of responding to the needs of the various social sectors. Additionally, he maintained, the dialogue sessions aimed to revive the role of local councils in promoting civil, democratic and participatory values in the development of these policies.

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