A group of masked men today stormed the CEC’s office in the Rafah electoral district and demanded that the office be closed down without presenting any reasons. CEC staff at the office, however, refused to comply with the masked men’s demands and continued their work. Security forces were soon notified and an investigation into the incident is underway.
Following the incident the CEC contacted all political factions in the Rafah electoral district to brief them on the situation and to stress the importance of cooperation by all parties with the CEC to ensure the success of the upcoming elections. Representatives of the political factions condemned the action and considered it an obstruction to the electoral process.
The incident came on the second day of a new CEC voter registration drive which saw the opening of more than 1000 voter registration centers throughout Palestine’s 16 electoral districts. The registration drive is part of the CEC’s preparations for the Palestinian Legislative Council elections, which are scheduled to take place on January 25th, 2005.