Next Steps to Palestinian National Council Elections

Next Steps to Palestinian National Council Elections, Jan 2012

On January 10th Palestinian youth gathered in a number of countries in order to discuss the next steps they could take to bring about the democratic enfranchisement of all Palestinians through direct elections to the Palestinian National Council (PNC), the highest legislative body of the PLO. Meetings were held in the UAE, Palestine, Lebanon, Spain, Italy, Sweden, the UK, the USA, Cuba, and Chile. Connected by live media, the discussions were held to answer the following questions:

How do we ensure that all Palestinians can exercise their inalienable right to participate in elections to our Palestinian National Council? What next steps can we as youth take to ensure that PNC elections actually happen?

The suggestions from the meetings were supplemented by answers that were sent in via email or posted on Facebook and Twitter.

Discussion in the meetings ranged from specific proposals for collective action to discussions of the broader principles of the campaign; suggestions for how elections should be administered; electoral districts and other political and logistical considerations. Throughout the meetings, the main principle of the campaign – the equal inclusion of all Palestinians in their national institutions – was repeatedly emphasised.

Here is a summary of the main suggestions emerging from the meetings:

  • Draft a letter to the newly-formed Committee for PNC Elections to:
    • Inform them of the result of our collective meetings, and request transparency regarding the members of the committee, and the proposals being put forth, including those of the different parties.
    • Request a list of current members of the PNC.
    • Demand that future meetings of the PNC committee are filmed and broadcast on live television, so that all Palestinians can follow the meetings, and ensure that decisions made reflect the popular will for democratic enfranchisement.
  • Launch a media campaign to raise awareness on the popular demand for direct PNC elections. Some of these suggestions include:
    • Launching a blog/website covering the latest news and events regarding PNC elections and political representation of Palestinians at different levels
    • Social media initiatives similar to those initiated elsewhere:
  • Take responsibility to educate ourselves and others in the national community about the institutions and structures of the PLO, election laws and procedures, and the mechanisms through which PNC elections can be realised. This should including building and developing the younger generation, as well as grassroots mobilisation, to ensure that future elections are vibrant and well-contested.
  • At the appropriate time, members of the PNC should be encouraged to resign en masse.
  • Encourage membership in unions and syndicates of the PLO, as a way of reactiviating the popular institutions of the PNC.
  • Ensure that Palestinian youth everywhere move collectively with a common strategy, through coordination between the different groups, until direct elections to the PNC are realized.
  • Ensure that it is an elected PNC, reflective of all sectors of our people, that reform and reactivate the PLO institutions so that they embody the will of the Palestinian people as a whole, and emphasize that no change to the institutional structure of the PLO should take place until after elections to the PNC.
  • That our youth must take a lead role in ensuring that every Palestinian, in the homeland and outside, has an equal right to participate in direct elections to the PNC, and that it is the role of youth to ensure that any logistical problems in this regard are overcome.
  • Ensure that the elections are run by a legitimate body which addresses concerns such as:
    • funding of political parties
    • the end of party quotas
    • a system to ensure wide participation of women and youth in the elections.
    • the definition of a national crime and the inclusion of this definition as a conditions for parties and individuals participating in elections

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