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Leaders urge Palestinians to register for PNC elections

June 18, 2012 3:52 P.M. (Updated: June 19, 2012 11:30 A.M.)
BETHLEHEM (Ma'an) -- Palestinian political and civil society leaders on Monday called on the Palestinian Diaspora and residents of the Palestinian territory to register for the first elections of the Palestinian Liberation Organization's parliament.

A statement signed by 36 senior figures, including representatives from Fatah, Hamas, Islamic Jihad, PFLP, DFLP and universities and civil society organizations, urges all Palestinians to register for the Palestinian National Council vote, slated for 2012.

"Participating in the registration drive reaffirms the unity of the Palestinian people, and their right to determine our national affairs, based on the principles of democracy and popular sovereignty," the statement says.

After the May 2011 reconciliation deal between Palestinian factions sought to address long-standing criticism that the PLO parliament failed to represent all Palestinians, an international campaign was launched to register Palestinians for the PNC elections.

A PLO reform committee meeting in Amman in early June agreed on regulations for the upcoming vote. Committee member Walid Awad said the Diaspora vote will be divided into six to eight constituencies, and the committee and Arab League will coordinate with host countries to facilitate the vote.

The PNC is the legislative body of the Palestinian Liberation Organization, which was established in 1964 to represent Palestinians in exile across the world as well as those living in the West Bank and Gaza. The parliament is presently mainly composed of appointees.

Activists had long called for the organization to work more transparently and democratically, as well as to include better representation of the Palestinian Diaspora.
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