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Committee meets to discuss future PNC election

Jan. 15, 2012 2:11 P.M. (Updated: Jan. 15, 2012 10:21 P.M.)
AMMAN, Jordan (Ma'an) -- A special committee of the PLO met Sunday in the Jordanian capital to discuss mechanisms for a future election of the Palestinian National Council.

The meeting comes amid calls from Palestinian youth who met recently to demand the enfranchisement of all Palestinians through direct elections to the PNC.

The chairman of the PNC, Salim al-Zanoun, told Voice of Palestine radio that the committee would raise questions about the number of representatives, mechanisms for the election in Palestine and abroad, whether the vote should be held at once or in stages, and the possibility of forming an election committee.

Officials were also to discuss the splintered political movements in Syria and how they might participate in the election given the state of unrest as the country's uprising drags into a new year.

They set a date -- Feb. 2 -- to release the findings in the presence of members of the executive committee and heads of various factions as well as five non-member movements.

Calls for transparency

Palestinian democracy activists have been increasingly vocal about the lack of transparency surrounding the discussions, and met days earlier in cities across the world to discuss the matter.

They are asking for basic transparency such as a list of the current members of the PNC. They also want future discussions broadcast on live television so Palestinians can follow the talks and hold their leaders accountable.

A summary of the meetings held Jan. 10 said activists want a newly elected PNC to be "reflective of all sectors of our people" and ensure that PLO institutions "embody the will of the Palestinian people as a whole."

No change to the PLO's structure should take place until after elections, they added.

Waleed Awad, a member of the Palestinian People's Party, told Ma'an that Sunday's meeting was held to fulfill what was agreed upon in previous conferences.

He said the commission's members hoped to resolve outstanding issues such as relations between the legislature and the PNC, and the number of PNC members.
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