|President calls on Israel authorities to contribute to creating appropriate conditions for Palestinian local elections
Strasbourg, 14.12.2005 - Giovanni Di Stasi, President of the Council of Europe Congress of Local and Regional Authorities, today launched an appeal to the Israeli authorities to help to ensure the smooth running of local elections in the Palestinian Territories, scheduled for Thursday 15 December.
"This 4th phase of elections of mayors and local councils is an important test before legislative elections in January 2006 and it is essential that they take place in a calm and organised manner" he said, President Di Stasi called on the Israeli authorities to ensure freedom of movement in the Territories, by not closing checkpoints or creating new ones and by not making the passages at checkpoints difficult. He also appealed to Israel to hold back military incursions not to disrupt the voting and to make sure that there is no military interference or intimidation of voters at the polling stations. Likewise, the President called on the Palestinian authorities to make sure that the Palestinian security forces do not interfere inside the polling stations or intimidate voters.
A Congress delegation is currently in the Palestinian Territories to observe the elections. On 15 December, its 7 teams will go to polling stations in Ramallah, Nablus, Jenin, Jericho and Gaza City, and will observe the counting of votes.
The delegation will present its preliminary findings at the press conference on Friday 16 December at 1.30 pm at the Palestinian Media Centre in Ramallah.
Council of Europe Press Division
Tel. +33 3 88 41 25 60 - Fax. +33 3 88 41 39 11