The Socialist International (SI) observer delegation to the Palestinian Legislative Elections held on 25 January 2006, concluded its work today declaring the elections to have been free and fair, and extended its congratulations to President Mahmoud Abbas, to the Palestinian Authority, the Central Elections Commission and the Palestinian people for the peaceful and orderly way in which the elections were carried out, particularly under the difficult circumstances of conflict in which they had to be held.
Members of the SI delegation visited polling stations in Ramallah, Nablus, Jenin, Tulkarem and Qalqilya in the Northern West Bank; in East Jerusalem, Bethlehem and Hebron in the Southern West Bank, and in the Gaza Strip. In all these places the SI observers witnessed an orderly and peaceful voting process in which the election officials and party representatives at the polling stations on the one hand and the voters on the other, carried out their duties in a responsible and civic manner.
While noting that all the required standards for normal, free and fair elections were met, the SI observers regretted the exceptional conditions in which the Palestinian residents of East Jerusalem were obliged to exercise their democratic right to vote.
The Socialist International delegation reiterated the organisation’s hopes that the government which will result from these elections will continue on the path of negotiations and the search for peace.
The two State solution based on mutual recognition, the renunciation of violence as a political option, the continuation of the process started in Oslo in 1993 and the implementation of the Roadmap are today the only way forward to overcome the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. The International remains committed to working tirelessly to that end.
The delegation, at the end of its observation, reaffirmed its confidence in the Palestinian political institutions and expressed its support for President Mahmoud Abbas, who articulates and represents the democratic will and aspirations for peace of the Palestinian people.
The strengthening of social democratic and progressive values and policies in the region remains, in our view, crucial for the success of the efforts to achieve peace.
The members of the SI delegation were Luis Ayala, SI Secretary General; Jan Dhaene from the Socialist Party, SPA, of Belgium; Dimitar Ougrinov, Nevena Aleksieva and Ventzislav Kanev from the Bulgarian Socialist Party; Costas Stefanidis and Theodoros Tsikas from the Panhellenic Socialist Movement of Greece; Luciano Vecchi, Gianfranco Brusasco, Enzo Amendola, Michele Mazzarano and Giacomo Filibeck from the Democrats of the Left of Italy; Max Wieselmann from the Labour Party of the Netherlands; Odd Reme from the Norwegian Labour Party; Paloma Villa from the Spanish Socialist Workers’ Party; Ann Linde and Mariam Sherifay from the Swedish Social Democratic Party; Yonnec Polet from the Party of European Socialists; and Latifa Perry from the SI Secretariat.
26 January 2006