Thursday, 13 June. 2024
Your Key to Palestine
The Palestinian Initiatives for The Promotoion of Global Dialogue and Democracy

Ramallah – 29/12/2022 – Within its efforts to promote democratic values and the peaceful transfer of power within the Palestinian government system, MIFTAH’s field advisory team completed over 100 town hall meetings in the second half of 2022. The meetings were held in coordination and cooperation with CSOs, LGUs and grassroots organizations and targeted women and youth in several West Bank and Gaza Strip districts. The objective of these meetings was to raise awareness among the electorate on the electoral system in Palestine and on civil society demands to increase women and youth participation in local and general elections as candidates and voters, on the premise that this boosts their presence in decision-making levels and involves them in public affairs.

The town hall meetings included several exchange visits between LGU members in the various districts. The women shared the experiences and challenges they faced after becoming council members. The meetings focused on the concept of citizenship within a broader definition of the various forms of political participation and the importance of involvement from youth and women in public life. They also pointed to the different forms of democracy and the main pillars of the democratic society Palestinians seek to create. The participants furthermore discussed the various forms of electoral systems and shed light on the gaps in electoral laws regarding the presence of women and youth.

The participants pointed to the importance of periodic legislative and presidential elections and the danger of the ongoing absence of the PLC on matters pertaining to civic peace. They also warned against the absence of oversight and accountability, maintaining that the defunct PLC has contributed to shrinking civic space and public freedoms and therefore, the ability or desire to become involved in political life, especially for women and youth. In most of the meetings, the participants also indicated that the absence of a regular democratic process in Palestine contributed to the overall exclusion of youth from participation and to the marginalization of the role of women in Palestinian political decision-making.

The town hall meetings stressed on the importance of pressing for legislative, presidential and local elections in all West Bank, Jerusalem and Gaza Strip districts. They also endorsed the demand for equality in electoral laws, starting with raising the women’s quota to a minimum of 30%, raising the candidacy age and lowering the threshold. They urged Palestinian factions to assume a key role in the process of inclusion for women and youth in the public sphere and to prevent the progression of tribalism in the democratic process. The attendees emphasized the importance of monitoring the performance of LGUs in their interaction with local communities and the consistency of their meetings. Finally, they said female council members must be given the opportunity to exercise their role in their respective councils as equals to their male counterparts.

MIFTAH holds town hall meetings on an annual basis as part of its awareness campaign on citizens’ rights and the promotion of the democratic approach for a peaceful transfer of power, in addition to the involvement of women and youth in elections as both candidates and voters. Each year, through these town hall meetings, MIFTAH aims to reach the widest possible segment of the electorate and the different social sectors in all parts of Palestine.

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