UN: ‘Free, democratic’ Palestinian vote must include East Jerusalem

Middle East Monitor  /  July 26, 2021

UN human rights experts Monday called on the Palestinian Authority and Israel to reschedule elections for the Palestinian presidency, legislature, and municipalities within a reasonable time to ensure “free, fair, democratic, peaceful, and credible” polls, reports Anadolu Agency.

The Palestinian parliamentary elections had been scheduled for May and the presidential polls for July.

They were, however, postponed indefinitely on April 29 by Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas due to concerns about Palestinians’ ability to vote in East Jerusalem.

“We are deeply concerned by the postponement of the scheduled elections in Palestine,” said the experts.

The experts included Michael Lynk, special rapporteur on human rights in the Palestinian territory; Irene Khan, special rapporteur on the right to freedom of expression; and Clement Nyaletsossi Voule, special rapporteur on freedom of peaceful assembly.

“The Palestinian elections present a monumental opportunity to renew the democratic process, to address the long-standing internal political divisions, to strengthen accountable institutions, and to take an important step towards achieving the fundamental national and individual rights of the Palestinian people,” the experts asserted.

“We call upon Israel to clearly state that it will allow the full democratic participation of Palestinians in East Jerusalem in the planned elections. As the occupying power in East Jerusalem, it must interfere as little as possible with the rights and daily lives of the Palestinians.”

They said that given advances in technology and remote and electronic voting, a variety of means to enable full democratic participation is available.