Socialist International observer delegation declares Palestinian elections a success

9 January 2005

The observer delegation of the Socialist International to the Palestinian Presidential elections concluded its programme of activities in the region expressing its appreciation and recognition of the democratic will of the Palestinian people and of the success of the elections.

The delegation, which was headed by the SI Secretary General, Luis Ayala, included as its members Harlem Désir, MEP, National Secretary for Europe, PS, France; Siv Førde, Member of the National Council, DNA, Norway; Julio de la Guardia, Advisor, Office of the Presidency of the Government, PSOE, Spain; Kent Härstedt, Member of Parliament, SAP, Sweden; Adeline Hazan, MEP, National Secretary for Human Rights, PS, France; Bert Koenders, PvdA Spokesperson for international affairs in the Dutch Parliament; Shahid Malik, Member of the National Executive, British Labour Party; Joe Mifsud, International Secretary, Malta Labour Party; Yonnec Polec, Advisor, Party of European Socialists; Marina Sereni, Member of Parliament and International Secretary, DS, Italy; Alexandre Seron, International Department, PS, Belgium; Konstantinos Stefanidis, Coordinator for the Middle East and the Mediterranean, International Department, PASOK, Greece; Simone Susskind, Advisor to the Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Justice, PS, Belgium; and Latifa Perry, SI Secretariat.

The delegation held meetings in Ramallah prior to the polls with representatives of the Palestinian Authority, members of the leadership of Fatah, a member party of the SI, met Presidential candidate Mahmood Abbas and held discussions with officials from the Palestinian Central Elections Commission (CEC) on the organisation of the vote.

On election day, members of the delegation followed the voting process in various electoral districts, visiting polling stations in Jenin, Tulkarim, Nablus, Qalqilya, Ramallah, Jericho, Bethlehem, Hebron, Gaza and East Jerusalem.

Discussions after the poll were again held with Fatah and with Palestinian officials, including Foreign Minister Nabil Shaath. Following a collective evaluation of the work done by the delegation, a statement was issued reflecting the unanimous conclusions of its members. Statement in full

After the elections, on 10 January, the delegation also held discussions with Shimon Peres, leader of the Israeli Labour Party, and Yossi Beilin, leader of the Yachad Party, both member parties of the Socialist International, on the formation of a new government in Israel that day and on the new opportunities arising in the region to regain a horizon for peace and to implement the agreed road map.