The Palestinian Association for Empowerment and Local Developmenthas concluded the monitoring of the first phase of the 2021 local elections, which commenced on 11 December 2021, in the West Bank Governorates in 154 villages and local councils.  There were 405,687 eligible voters who registered in 222 polling centers, where the final Voter’s turnout percentage for the (First Phase) of the elections reached 66.14% out of 405,687 eligible voters, i.e., 268,318 voters.

 

The report divided the candidates of both genders into three main age groups, as the following: 1. (25-35-years old), 2. (36-45-years-old) and 3. (45-years-old and older). It was found that there were (1,977) candidates, i.e., 32%, within the first age group. There was a decrease in the percentage and number of female candidates in this category compared to males. The second category reached (1,679) candidates, i.e., 27%, while the third category had the largest number of candidates (2,397), i.e., 40%. As for the winners of the first category, the percentage was 21.7%, while the percentage of the second category was 27.4%, and the third category was 26.6%. The total number of candidates within these 3 categories reached (6,053).  Thus, there is an improvement in youths’ participation, demonstrating their increase in the awareness of their rights regarding candidacy and elections, despite the irregularity of the Palestinian democratic process.

 

During the electoral campaign, there was a large number of candidate blocs that avoided publishing female candidates’ pictures and replaced their pictures with political symbols or an X. Women were also pressured to withdraw from many of the lists.  

 

The field monitoring team, formed by REFORM’s projects’ beneficiaries, came up with a set of recommendations, as the following: (1) the need to take into account the proposals of civil society organizations on the necessary amendments regarding the legislation governing local elections, whether related to amending the electoral system or immunizing against loopholes that may allow corruption or related to “quota,” (2) increasing the representation of women. REFORM also suggested that laws must be adopted obligating electoral lists and candidates to disclose candidates' pictures and identifying information about them that would make it easier for the voter to elect the right candidate.