Written by: Fadi Al-Asa
The Palestinian local elections in the West Bank have ended. Most councils were formed based on the results of these elections, despite having many problems. It reached the point of confronting elected members, as well as having many differences over the formation of these councils from the supporters and the elected members themselves.
Indeed, the Palestinian citizen will not yet touch on the impact of the elections, their results, and the formation of these councils. However, it is clear that the differences that occurred over the formation of the councils will have an impact on the provision of services to citizens on-the-ground. It is very clear that the causes of the dispute are many, but there is an important angle concerning the form of the electoral system and its role.
The Palestinian people have a great ability to overcome internal problems. They also have the distinction of starting over. However, we do not want the current democratic system and the presence of some problems in it to take the citizen to the stage of indifference. There will be a return of the problems, which the citizen will seek to change. There is a feeling that one can obtain basic services through participation in the ballot boxes to support the change he or she wants.
It seems that the current electoral system, which relies on a single block that contests the elections, has complicated the problem more. In the formation of the elected councils, this block brought people who were not worthy of these positions. They were chosen either to object to a previous council or to object to names on other candidate lists. Some cases involve choosing names under certain pressure or on the mind of a member of a specific list.
This prompts the citizen today, who is waiting to receive the service and who was a voter yesterday, to a more important question: Why was there not an opportunity for certain individuals to run for elections without being on candidate lists? And why would those who are able to change not think about participating because they were not found? Or is it because they are embarrassed to form lists that they are forced to carry names they are not convinced of?
And you still hear from the street at every stage of the electoral process, that the presence of certain names without a block or list may bring about the desired change. It may be an opportunity for this person to be an active and important element in bringing about the required change, without having to carry a complete list and because he or she wants to serve the environment they live in.
The most important result and the ultimate goal of every election after the formation of the electoral system, is to achieve the desired service for the people. We are speaking about councils in their final work that provide public services. It seems much easier instead of the complexity that appears after each election result if the situation does remain as it is.
You feel joy in people's eyes when they begin to feel that they have the power to change. However, it is a missing opportunity as they have not yet touched the change on-the-ground. They are still counting on people sitting in their homes to participate as well.
People still hope for an easier technical way to cast their votes. Despite the good interaction with the elections and the voters going to the polling stations, the technological development that is sweeping the world today can present another good opportunity when facilitating the election and the nominations.
The current electoral system is also taken into account, voting for a list with a number and a slogan. Questions ensue such as: What if you are unspecified? Who will you vote for before entering the election hall? If you forgot the person or group you want, which list would it be?
It would also be embarrassing to ask at that moment if there is some technical way, there are the names that you want when you leave yourself with the ballot paper in the polling hall. There is a technology that can facilitate these names in the lists. In other words, it can help the mixed electoral system to get rid of all of this by opening the way for lists and for certain people to participate in the electoral process.
It is good to learn from mistakes. It is even better to deal with it better the next time. This is what we seek with our voice, which wants a change in the most transparent, and democratic way of change. It is the best way to reach change.
In addition, despite the responsible party accepting the results of the elections, the people’s opportunity for change was mixed with a tent of hope from the results. This includes whether they would get the development they wanted in their surroundings and whether the service they felt had been provided to them could become incomplete. On the other hand, did the matter lead to a rift within the elected local council and will it affect the ultimate goal of sustainable development? Is it close or will it become far from reach due to the disputes?
I passed on the outskirts of the city of Bethlehem in the south of the occupied West Bank. I was on the main street leading to Beit Sahour's city, which was recently renovated by the Bethlehem municipality.
The street is still scraped. Before that, it was damaged for more than two months and it has not been paved yet. It was as though the disagreements that occurred over the formation of the Municipal Council in Bethlehem affected all services, even if they were engineering and had nothing to do with the actual formation of the council.
This applies to all services in which people seek to sense a change. It goes even beyond that in which they feel as though they are not waiting for something new from a new assembly. They do not interact with what is happening because people have exhausted their efforts, time and interactions with the elections and their technical procedures. The way they conducted with lists without any other alternative ensued problems that were amplified by the formation of the councils. It was as if they forgot for a moment that all of this should be for one goal, which is for them to obtain the service they dream of. At the very least, there must be a change in the management of the councils that can bring a change in our living reality with increased development. It is with this progress that everyone can be satisfied with that includes important details of their lives.
The opinions expressed in this article are the views of the author and not necessarily the opinion of the Association or donor.