|The European Commission welcomes yesterday’s holding of legislative elections in the West Bank and Gaza Strip. The election process represents a strengthened Palestinian commitment to democratic institutions. This commitment must now be taken up by the newly elected members of the legislature, and the new Government which should commit itself to the Roadmap and the principle of a resolution to the conflict by peaceful and negotiated means.
The EU Election Observation Mission, deployed throughout the West Bank, including in East Jerusalem, and Gaza Strip, has found that the elections constituted a “fairly-contested electoral process that was efficiently administered by a professional and independent Palestinian Central Elections Commission”.
The Commissioner for External Relations and Neighbourhood Policy, Benita Ferrero-Waldner remarked:
“The Palestinian people have turned out in very high numbers to freely express their popular will. I am satisfied that the EU Election Observation Mission led by Véronique de Keyser MEP was able to play an important role in strengthening the confidence of Palestinians to exercise their democratic rights. In holding competitive and credible elections the Palestinians have shown their commitment to determine their political future via democratic means. Democracy however brings with it a responsibility to respect the rule of law, to end violence and to commit to peace by peaceful means through negotiations with Israel. I urge the new Palestinian Government to respect these values and to commit fully to a democratic and peaceful process in line with our longstanding principles for cooperation”.
The European Commission is committed to supporting the Palestinian people in their hopes and aspirations for a better life, and for the Roadmap objective of a Palestinian state at peace with Israel.
The Commission is ready to assist any Palestinian Government that seeks peace by peaceful means and that commits to the principles that underpin EU/Palestinian agreements, notably the EU-PA Neighbourhood Policy Joint Action Plan and the Interim Association Agreement which bind the PA to the fundamental principles of peace and democracy, respect for the rule of law and human rights.