Al Mezan Center for Human Rights welcomes the decree, issued by Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas, that announces parliamentary and presidential elections for later this year. The first such elections in almost 16 years, this step is long overdue and holds weighty expectations for the renewal of legitimacy to state institutions and unification of the Palestinian political system, in view of restoring the rule of law and the primacy of democratic values to Palestine.

Al Mezan has always held that Palestinian stakeholders must reconcile, end the duality of the political system, and unite the judiciary to pave the way for fair and transparent elections. Yet the failure—over the course of many years—to reach common ground, has left no option but to prioritize elections ahead of resolving the multiple folds of internal political division. Holding transparent elections, in which the electorate can freely express its will, would herald the start to the long-awaited, unified Palestinian approach and counteract the devastating impact of the political divide.

Al Mezan calls on all Palestinian factions to build upon this positive development and to persist in their reconciliation efforts, in order to move the elections forward. Al Mezan also stresses that the promotion of civil and political rights—notably, freedom of expression and of the press—is crucial to ensure free and fair elections. Palestinian authorities must also reach a consensus on critical issues that serve as potential interferences in the electoral process.

In this regard, Al Mezan is launching a comprehensive campaign to monitor the elections, in coordination with partner organizations. The campaign aims at spreading awareness about political participation, both for voters and candidates participating in the electoral process, and ensuring the integrity of the elections.