West Bank and Gaza
Upon MUSAWA's Intervention: The Official Gazette Publishes a Notice Regarding The Protection of The Right Of An Independent Candidate to Run for The Presidency
The fifth paragraph of Article (39) of Decree-Law No. (1) of 2007 regarding elections states that: “A copy of the electoral program, a colored electronic copy of the electoral slogan and symbol, a certificate of good conduct, and a letter from the representative of the list or party if he/she is a candidate for a list or party shall be attached to the candidate’s request". The law also delegated to the Central Elections Commission the authority to supervise the electoral process, which includes accreditation of candidates and ensuring equal rights among other candidates.
The beginning of the problem
MUSAWA looked into the Decree-Law No. (1) of 2021 to amend Decree-Law No. (1) of 2007 regarding the general elections issued on 1/13/2021, and it was noted that Article (11) of it amending the fifth paragraph of Article (39) of the Decree-Law that was amended, reads as follows: “A copy of the electoral program, a colored electronic copy of the electoral slogan and symbol, a certificate of non-conviction, and a letter from the representative of a list or party shall be attached to the candidacy application.” It turned out that the amendment omitted the words ""If he/she is a candidate for a list or party" which may imply that an independent candidate must attach a letter from a representative of a list or a party as a requirement for his/her candidacy to be accepted, which cancels the right of the independent candidate to run in the presidential elections, especially since such an amendment is in the form mentioned has many different interpretations, including the denial of the independent candidate from competing for the position of president.
In light of this, MUSAWA directed a legal memo on 1/3/2021 to the Central Elections Committee, requesting the committee 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 its implications and to demand its cancellation, in order to enable the committee to fulfill its obligations, powers and authorities and ensures that it performs its powers in a manner that secures fair, neutral, transparent and constitutional elections, and to request the President to take the legal requirements regarding the Decree-Law to ensure that the rights of independent candidates in the presidential elections are not violated.
Publication of a notice in the Palestinian Gazette
On 3/18/2021, a notice was published in Issue (177) of the Palestinian Gazette, indicating that the phrase “if he/she is a candidate for a list or a party” was inadvertently fell due to a technical error. On 3/21/2021, the Central Elections Committee sent a letter to MUSAWA Center in response to the memo sent to the committee indicating that the committee communicated with the competent authorities in light of the memo and a notice was published in the Gazette, and that the committee's procedures for running for the position of president will confirm the right of independent candidates to compete for the position of president without requiring that the candidate be from a list or party in order for his/her candidacy in order to be accepted.
Note: MUSAWA learned from well-informed sources that the aforementioned notice was published in support of a written letter issued by the Office of the President with the President's signature on, directed to the Fatwa and Legislation Bureau, but it was not published along with the notice.