The Central Elections Commission (CEC) uses the Palestinian Elections Law and international standards as the basis of the internal systems that regulates its work. Independency, neutrality, professionalism and transparency are the fundamental values behind the policies and principles adhered to by the CEC as it carries out its work and administers the electoral process.
The independence of the Central Elections Commission is secured through various clauses in the law. Moreover, each employee at the CEC is appointed subject to their agreeing to “work with neutrality, integrity and honesty, without partiality for any candidate or political party".
The work of the CEC is limited to the technical, administrative and executive aspects of the electoral process. As a body it is not involved with drawing up or amending electoral law, but rather works in accordance with it – although it does give its input on key issues when requested. The CEC does not impose its views on the form of the electoral system or on, for example, the number of Legislative Council members or quota seats allocated for women or Christians. The neutrality of the CEC is not only manifested in its dealings with the various groups related to the Palestinian elections, but also in its dealings with the judiciary, with respect to different standpoints related to the electoral system and any amendments put forward in its regard.
The CEC aspires to transparency in all of its practices and at each stage of its work, from financial policy and the regulation of employment and procurement bids to administering an open accreditation process for domestic and international missions, political parties and media to observe the elections. At the same time, the CEC aims to publish the results of the accreditation process and inform all groups concerned of any modification in procedures.
Since it was established, the CEC has set two principal aims for its work: establishing a permanent electoral administration working on a sound professional and administrative basis and completing the necessary preparations for holding free and fair Presidential, Legislative and Local elections at the time required when elections are called for.
With regard to achieving the first of these aims, the Central Elections Commission has established its executive body and equipped and inaugurated associated offices and facilities. The executive body includes the headquarters in Ramallah, the regional office in the Gaza Strip, and an office in each of the 16 electoral districts. The necessary organizational structures have been put in place and staff have been recruited and trained. Internal administrative and financial systems have also been established. At the current time, the Central Elections Commission is managed by a qualified executive administrative body that is capable of continuing as a permanent organization responsible for the organization of elections.
In regards to the second aim, the necessary plans, concepts and procedures have been drawn up for the various electoral processes (registering voters, processing applications for nomination, polling, counting and accrediting observers and political parties). The CEC has prepared a detailed plan that includes numbers and distribution of polling and registration centers across all residential areas of the West Bank and the Gaza Strip. It has prepared training manuals and materials for staff appointed to carry out the registration, polling and counting processes. Likewise, publicity materials have been prepared which are used in the CEC’s awareness and education campaigns, designed with the aim of raising citizens’ awareness of the importance of elections and how they can participate and exercise their rights.
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