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Source: Council of Europe's Parliamentary Assembly
10 January 2005


PACE satisfied with the election of the President of the Palestinian Authority

Jerusalem, 10.01.2005 -
A delegation (1) of the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe (PACE), led by Lord Kilclooney, former Minister at Home Affairs in Northern Ireland, observed the 9 January election of the President of the Palestinian Authority.

Palestinians voted in three distinct areas: the West Bank, East Jerusalem and Gaza. The delegation was satisfied with the efficient organisation of this election and commends Palestinian electoral officials and international agencies concerned on the excellent job they have done in the run up to the vote, in difficult circumstances within an illegally occupied territory.

The overall high voter turnout clearly signals the belief of the Palestinian electorate in the democratic process. With the election of the new President, a new window of opportunity is opened for a renewed dialogue between Palestinians and Israelis. The momentum must not be lost and contacts should resume at the earliest to avoid deadlock and intensified violence. We expect all sides to show the political will to make headway towards a meaningful negociating process. The Palestinian people have expressed their hope. We believe that trust could be restored.

While satisfied with the way in general the election was conducted, the

delegation deplores a number of serious matters such as:


Even those 5 000 had to cast their votes in post offices rather than in polling stations where neither the secrecy of the vote nor the security of transportation of ballots could be guaranteed;

The Election Law No.15 of 1995, on the basis of which the present election was held, seems to be in conformity with general democratic standards and the Central Election Commission gave every indication that it intended to implement it to the letter, notwithstanding a very difficult political and security context.

./..

The delegation will continue to welcome the presence of members of the Palestinian Legislative Council at the PACE plenary Sessions in Strasbourg and at all other meetings involving Israel and the Palestinian Authority. PACE is ready to give any assistance possible to the Palestinian authorities for the preparation of the parliamentary election in July 2005.

(1) Members of the delegation:

Socialist Group (SOC): Tom Cox (United Kingdom), Josette Durrieu (France), Andreas Gross (Switzerland), Tadeusz Iwinski (Poland), Ruth Gaby Vermot-Mangold (Switzerland), Tana de Zulueta (Italy).
Group of the European People's Party (EPP/CD): Corien Jonker (Netherlands), Lord Kilclooney (United Kingdom).
Liberal, Democratic and Reformers' Group (LDR): Daniel Goulet (France), Lord Russell-Johnston (United Kingdom).
European Democrat Group (EDG): André Kvakkestad (Norway), Mikhail Margelov (Russia).
Group of the Unified European Left (UEL): Leo Platvoet (Netherlands).

Contact: Francesc Ferrer, PACE Communication Unit, Mob. +33 6 30 49 68 22
Tel. +33 3 88 41 32 50, francesc.ferrer@coe.int

Press Release
Parliamentary Assembly Communication Unit
Ref: 004a05
Tel: +33 3 88 41 31 93
Fax :+33 3 90 21 41 34
pace.com@coe.int
internet: www.coe.int/press

The Parliamentary Assembly brings together 630 members from the national parliaments of the 46 member states.

President: Peter Schieder (Austria, SOC);
Secretary General of the Assembly: Bruno Haller.
Political Groups: SOC (Socialist Group);
EPP/CD (Group of the European
People's Party); LDR (Liberal, Democratic and Reformers' Group);
EDG (European Democratic Group);
UEL (Group of the Unified European Left).


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