A Proposal for Unity Elections in Palestine
Proposal for Unity Elections in the West Bank, Gaza and among the Palestinian Refugees/Diaspora, voting on the same day
I received an interesting paper from Mr. Hugo van Randwyck about unity elections in Palestine, for all Palestinians to vote on the same day. In this paper, Mr. Randwyck presents a vision of a unified Palestinian election taking place in one day, and with the participation of all Palestinians, including the Palestinians living in the Diaspora, who could obtain voter registration cards with their ancestral towns mentioned in them, just as many nations allow their citizens abroad to participate in elections, and in this way vote for representatives for their ancestral electoral districts, like Haifa, Acre, Jaffa, and others, so that the world and also Palestinians themselves can see the more clearly the presence of the refugees.
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Mr. Hugo van Randwyck is a business consultant, most recently having worked in Australia. He visited Palestine, Israel, Lebanon, Syria, Jordan and Egypt during holidays. He said that after this visit he began to see something different in Palestine that what he usually read in the media, meaning the western media. In 2006 he visited the Sabra and Shatila refugee camps, and asked the people to tell him their stories with their own words, without media filtering or censorship. Mr. van Randwyck soon started developing the voting idea as another way to reach the people in the West.
The Paper and Proposal of Mr. van Randwyck Follows Below.
How about Palestinians in the West Bank, Gaza and including the Palestinian refugees/Diaspora – all voting on the same day. Unity Elections. The refugees and Diaspora could also have their ancestral towns on the their voter registration cards. The refugees and Diaspora could also vote for representatives for their ancestral electoral districts – who could speak also for them in negotiations.
This initiative is also looking at the expulsion of people in 1948 and 1967, as also an expulsion of ‘voters’. Voters, who have, so far been unable to return and vote.
The concept of refugees voting and returning to their country is already proven – with Afghan refugees, where refugees 850,000 voted, as so far 5 million refugees have returned. The process is called ‘Out of Country Voting’, or OCV.
The first Palestinian election in 1996 were organized in 10 weeks, for 1 million voters.
The Palestine Central Elections Commission have all the skills, and are internationally recognized for their skills in organizing and running free and fair elections.
There are many benefits to the Palestinians and also to supporters of peace in the Holy Land around the world. It gives Palestinian refugees worldwide exposure, with numbers, facts and figures, also with newly elected representatives who can visit overseas Parliaments. It makes it easier for people in the West to organize pro-democracy rallies, and ask politicians at election time, if they support Palestinian refugee votes and
representatives – all politicians in the West need to face their electorates.
Palestinians will be stronger, with empowered refugees/diaspora, who can express their ‘voting voice’. The next ‘unity election’ could be held a year later, so that a full census can be done, and also so new politicians can show quicker results, and help avoid dis-unity, since voters would likely prefer unity. The Palestinians in the West Bank and Gaza, could feel that the world is hearing them and world politicians have another look at their policies to the Holy Land.
Actions to help this process, can be by Palestinians themselves: sending emails to online newspapers in English and Arabic, adding comments to the ‘comments’ section of online news websites, contacting Palestinian politicians and parties, sending leaflets, refugees camps could look at where they would organize voter registration.
Unity elections, is a positive initiative that would help Palestinians and supporters of peace in the Holy Land.
Okay, you may need to simplify the statement to suit what you are doing. Yes, there are politicians who may feel uncertain how this could benefit them. So journalists can ask questions like:
- Q. Have you set a date for starting voter registration of refugees and Diaspora?
- Q. Do you have a date for a decision on when voter registration will start?
- Q. If Israelis with American passports can vote in American elections, why not Palestinian refugees/Diaspora in Palestinian elections?
Also refugees and Diaspora could – if they wanted – organize the process themselves. I have talked to an election materials company, and it seems pretty straight forward.
A copy of Mr. van Randwyck’s paper as PDF is here.
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