Stemming from our belief that elections is a fundamental pillar of democracy and human rights, and to ensure the independence and neutrality of the work of the Central Elections Commission (CEC) as stipulated by the Palestinian Election Laws, and being entrusted in administering the electoral process in integrity and freedom manner we, as CEC Commissioners, hereby declare our adherence to the following code of conduct.
The following code of conduct aims to:
1- Achieve the highest standards of integrity and transparency.
2- Avoid whatever that may jeopardize the integrity of the electoral process.
3- Ensure a sound follow up of elections.
4- Achieve CEC principles, mainly independence, neutrality, professionalism and transparency.
CEC Commissioners being responsible for administering CEC’s work and entrusted with its independence and objectivity.
The present Code of Conduct stems from Commissioners wish to:
• Act in a professional and objective manner according to the principles of transparency and neutrality.
• Abolish of all potential conflicts between public and personal interests.
• Ensure the independence and objectivity of the CEC and conduct elections in a transparent, objective and free manner.
The Commissioners attest to the fact that:
• The level of conduct expected from commissioners is high and shall always be a subject of public interest since the integrity of elections is closely linked with the integrity, independence and neutrality of the people responsible for elections administration and supervision.
• The electoral process is a delicate one necessarily resulting in election winners and losers. This places extra importance on observing the ethics and behaviors of those responsible for elections by the local and international community. This necessitates a set of behaviors and ethics for Commissioners to enjoy that are in line with the sensitivity and importance of the role assigned to them and reflects on the confidence on the entire electoral process.
1- Integrity: To work in honesty and devotion, to seek to maintain and reinforce the confidence of citizens through elections, to put public interest over personal interests in case of conflict between the two, to disclose any violations once known and to refrain from abusing any information acquired on the job for personal interests.
2- Neutrality: To act as dictated by the principles of objectivity and professionalism without bias in stances against any matter assigned to the Commission according to law and to deal with all election stakeholders with neutrality and full equality regardless of political affiliations and beliefs.
3- Professionalism and commitment to accountability.
4- Transparency: To publicize the work of the Commission, to observe transparency of procedures, and to allow for public access to information permitted by law, to publish documents requiring publishing by the law such as the voters registry, candidates list and awareness material and to maintain open channels of communication with all elections stakeholders.
5- To respect the law and reinforce leadership: to adhere to the legal procedures regulating CEC’s work as per the law and the systems and instructions issued on this regard, mainly electoral legislations.
1- Abiding by the principle of integrity:
• Adopt and promote the codes of conducts of all elections stakeholders and acquaint all CEC staff and those in relation of such.
• Adhere to sound work procedures that determine recruitment mechanisms and places the right person in the right place away from discrimination and favoritism, adhering to the principle of equal opportunity and to adopt procedures for the recruitment and promotion of postings and to prevent political interference in the hiring and promotion process.
• Disclose of any private interest that may conflict with the work interest especially when it comes to making decisions related to an interest of a Commissioner and refrain from participating in such decision.
• Utilize recourses (time, space, equipment) for official work purposes away from personal and partisan interests.
• Refrain from combining the membership of the Commission with any other work that may contradict with Commission’s work.
• Ensure not to exploit membership with the CEC for achieving personal, family, partisan or financial gains or accept any gift, reward or bonus.
2- Enforcing CEC’s neutrality and independence:
• Abide by the provisions of electoral laws and regulations issued thereunder to achieve the intended goals of such.
• Refrain from responding to any external interventions that do not comply with the legislations and policies governing CEC’s work.
• Exhibit strict neutrality in all stages of the electoral process and refrain from any electoral activity that may be interpreted as supportive of a certain candidate or political party.
• Respect the regulations imposed on the exercise of partisan activities for CEC Commissioners and ensure not to allow personal political opinions to affect cec’s work.
• Adopt policies to ensure maintaining equal opportunities of all in receiving services provided by the CEC.
• Abide by the principle of secret voting and voter’s right to choose his/her list or candidate freely.
3- Accountability and professionalism:
• Ensure publishing of periodic administrative and financial reports and submit copies of which to the President and Legislative Council.
• Ensure the existence of internal and external audit that ensures the sound use of CEC’s financial resources according to accurate financial and accounting procedures.
• Promote monitoring of the electoral process through simplifying of procedures that enable everyone to follow up elections and submit objections and appeals.
• Provide mechanisms for objections and appeals of election results and respect the role of local and international observers and journalists and cooperate with them in achieving their role.
• Adopt a written system for complaints accessible to the public and staff as per the law.
• Notify competent authorities of cases of threat, corruption or exploitation.
• Provide citizens' access to documented public information, particularly, the decisions and policies of the Commission and its subsidiary bodies without restrictions in an easy and public manner.
• Disseminate information widely to inform citizens of the administrative procedures, and how to take advantage of the services provided by the Commission.
• Work to publish periodic reports on the work of the Commission and the election results in a timely manner and in accordance with the law.
5- Enhancing leadership role of the Commission
• Provide a suitable work environment for the work of staff and promote loyalty to the institution and law instead of persons.
• Identify administrative levels in the Commission, the departments and staff jobs descriptions, the limits of their responsibilities, the relationship between the administrative units, the scope of supervision and internal control points and accountability mechanisms.
• Identify the systems and procedures that must be followed in the process of participation in international conferences, representation and missions abroad, leading to compliance with the Commission's work and ensure the achievement of its objectives, improve performance and rationalize expenditures.
• Adopt and circulate a code of conduct for staff and follow up on compliance.
• Apply the principle of community partnership in the development of policies and programs related to CEC’s work, and abide by the standards of "good practices" in terms of encouraging the participation of internal departments of the Commission in the formulation and review of policies, preparation of budgets and future planning to reach quality decisions.