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Clarifications regarding the early voting for security forces

Monday, January 9, 2006

The CEC would like to clarify several issues pertaining to polling procedures for the security forces, the CEC’s request to the President to relieve it of its duties and its concerns regarding election arrangements in Jerusalem:

1. The Elections Law guarantees the right of the security forces to vote. After the presidential elections, the CEC began considering how security personnel might participate in the PLC elections without jeopardizing security measures on polling day. Over the past six months, the CEC has conducted several meetings with officials from the Ministry of Interior to discuss the issue.

2. Clause (3) of Article (8) of the Elections Law stipulates that "voters are not permitted to cast their votes in any district other than the district where they are registered."

3. The CEC acknowledges that security personnel may face movement difficulties during the voting process. In order to implement the law indicated above and to facilitate the movement of the security forces, the CEC recommended early voting procedures for all security personnel over the three days that precede the official polling day. The CEC believes that this mechanism will allow for their participation without depriving the governorates of security personnel on Election Day.

4. A number of statements have been issued with respect to the implementation of special procedures for the security forces in other countries. However, the fact is that in some countries special procedures exist not only for security forces but also for citizens living abroad, as well as for those who temporarily reside outside their electoral districts and use a postal vote. Such procedures are stipulated in law and an advanced and reliable postal system is in place.

5. The CEC was prepared to undertake special procedures for the security forces provided that the measures taken would be supported by the law and that the CEC be given enough time to prepare and implement the procedures.

6. On 6 November 2005, a meeting was held between CEC representatives and the Interior Minister. The Interior Ministry adopted the early voting system for the security forces which had been put forward by the CEC. The law was subsequently amended in such a way that allowed for early voting without altering Article 3, which stipulates that voting must be conducted in the place of registration.

7. It would be difficult for the CEC to implement any substantial amendment to the law at this stage. The CEC, therefore, advocates adherence to the law and reiterates that it will do its utmost to assist in the facilitation of the movement of all security personnel during the period of early voting.

8. The CEC does not question the integrity of the security forces. On the contrary, it values them as partners in the electoral process. At the same time, the CEC is working in accordance with the law to ensure that the integrity of the electoral process is not put into question by observers or candidates.

9. When there is no agreement in the vision held by the CEC and other ministries in the PNA, the CEC will suspend its work. The CEC does want to become privy to any disagreement with its partners. The CEC therefore requests that the President solve the issue as he deems appropriate. In an effort to uphold the national interest, the CEC requested that the President relieve it of its duties. In a letter dated 4 January 2006, the CEC confirmed that its administrative and technical staff would continue to undertake their responsibilities under the supervision of a newly formed commission.

Finally, the CEC reaffirms its independence. The CEC is not permitted to offer its political perspective on internal or external issues, however, it expresses it concerns over the issue of elections in Jerusalem. To date, the CEC has not received any notification on election arrangements in Jerusalem.


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