West Bank and Gaza
Respected Ladies and gentlemen, Director and members of the Central Elections Committee,
Subject: The right of an independent candidate to compete for the position of president
The Palestinian Center for the Independence of the Judiciary and the Legal Profession sends you its best regards, expressing to you that after it became aware of Decree Law No. (1) of 2021 to amend Decree Law No. (1) of 2007 regarding general elections, especially Article (11) amending the (Fifth) paragraph of Article (39) of Decree Law No. (1) of 2007 (The original law), which states: “A copy of the electoral program, a colored electronic copy of the slogan and the electoral symbol, a certificate of good conduct, and a letter from the representative of the list or party shall be attached to the candidate’s request if he is a candidate with a list or party”, whereas the amendment listed in article (11) reads As follows: “A copy of the electoral program shall be attached to the candidacy application, a colored electronic copy of the electoral slogan and symbol, a certificate of non-conviction, and a letter from the representative of the list or party.”
The amendment shows the deletion of the words "if he/she is a candidate for a list or a party", which may suggest obligating the independent candidate to attach a letter from a list or party representative as a requirement for his candidacy acceptance. By requiring the independent candidate to attach a letter from the representative of a list or party as a requirement to accept his candidacy, this nullifies the right of the independent candidate to run in the presidential elections, especially since such an amendment in the form it was mentioned in it has many different interpretations, including preventing the independent candidate from competing for the position of president, which involves infringement and violation of a constitutional right guaranteed to all citizens according to the provisions of Article (26) of the Basic Law, and in accordance with Decree-Law No. (1) of 2007 regarding the general elections, especially Articles (36), (37) and (38) thereof, by the amendment adding a new condition that contradicts what is stipulated in the aforementioned articles whereas the new condition obliges the independent candidate to attach a letter from the representative of a list or party with his candidacy application.
Respected ladies and gentlemen,
Whereas the law entrusts your esteemed committee with the authority to supervise the electoral process, which includes accrediting candidates and ensuring equality of rights among all other candidates, and since the preservation of the text as stipulated in the Decree Law No. (1) of 2021 may seriously compromise the integrity, transparency and impartiality of the electoral process. As a civil commission for the oversight of elections approved by your esteemed committee, we look forward to your taking the appropriate legal requirement, and to address the President as the issuer of the Decree Law No. (1) of 2021 to explain the reasons for making the said amendment and the implications for it and demand its cancellation, so that your esteemed committee can fulfill the obligations of its powers and authorities in a way that guarantees the performance of its powers in a manner that secures fair, neutral, transparent and constitutional elections, and to request the President to take the legal requirement regarding the Decree Law to ensure that the rights of independent candidates in the presidential elections are not prejudiced, and to remove any ambiguity that might prejudice the rights of independents in a manner that conflicts with constitutional principles and the rights of citizens as well as taking any legal or judicial requirement that your esteemed committee considers must be taken as a guarantee to those principles and rights.
We hope from your esteemed committee, upon issuing any statement related to the timetable for the legal periods for the candidacy stage, to indicate clearly and specifically the conditions that must be met by the independent candidate in a manner that removes any confusion and eliminates any additional requirement that contradicts articles (36), (37), and (38) of Resolution No. (1) of 2007, caused by the amendment or resulted from it in order not to undermine the essence of the electoral process, to waste the freedom and integrity of the elections and to violate the internationally recognized best standards for elections, and to not violate the constitutional rights of citizens.
Looking forward to deepening the bonds of joint cooperation with your esteemed committee to enhance the principle of the rule of law, human rights and public confidence in your esteemed committee, hoping to duly provide us with your response to our memorandum.
Issue on: 01/03/2021