The continued disruption of the work of the Legislative Council led to the loss of the most important official tool for oversight and accountability
The loss of oversight and accountability
The Palestinian Association from Empowerment and Local Development— REFORM conducts an online dialogue session entitled: “The impact of the absence of the Palestinian Legislative Council on the structure of the political system” in the presence of Mr. Awni Abu Ghosh, a member of the Political Bureau of the Popular Struggle Front, Mr. Jihad Harb, a researcher and political analyst, and Dr. Khalil Abu Karsh. This session highlighted the legal situation in Palestine in the absence of the Palestinian Legislative Council and the absence of sessions for representatives to discuss or enact laws in line with societal changes and needs.
The facilitator, Mr. Basil Jabareen, discussed the absence of the Legislative Council, stating that the division between the West Bank and the Gaza Strip since July 2007 has paralyzed the Legislative Council’s ability to exercise its legislative and oversight role in political life. He further stressed that the continued disruption of the work of the Legislative Council led to the loss of the most important official tool for oversight and accountability, including accountability for the performance of the executive authority, the presidency, the government and the security services.
Mr. Jihad Harb spoke about the existence of three basic pillars of democratic systems and how the absence of any of them will lead to the regime’s inability to operate. The first pillar is the elections, the second is the rule of law and the third is the separation of powers, where the elected Legislative Council will be one of the main elements. With regard to the principle of separation of powers, the parliament plays a pivotal role in accordance with the principles of the political system, and these steps related to leniency are played by the parliament as a representative of citizens.
The necessity of developing the Palestinian political system
Mr. Harb further indicated that the main principle for the separation of powers is to limit the overpowering of the powers of each other of which the political system obtains based on the social contract. In the absence of this part of the political system, the executive authority becomes the legislator and the executor. Therefore, there is not any possibility of limiting the power overrunning the executive authority. There becomes an imbalance in the social contract based on the constitutional rules stipulated in the Basic Law, where the failure to hold elections for at least 10 years deprived an entire generation of access to decision-making positions and of exercising their voting power. In turn, this led to the destruction of the structure of the political system as a result of the irregularity of the democratic process and the absence of the Legislative Council.
Meanwhile, Mr. Awni Abu Ghosh said that there is an entire generation of Palestinian youth who have been denied participation in choosing their representatives as a result of the continued division and the Israeli occupation’s prevention of the holding elections in occupied Jerusalem. Moreover, Dr. Khalil Abu Karsh discussed how the absence of the Legislative Council on the structure of the political system led to the absence of accountability and control over the actions of the government. This impacted the achievement of a balance amongst the three branches: legislative, judicial and executive through the absence of a peaceful transfer of power, which led to the loss of constitutional legitimacy. Dr. Abu Karsh further highlighted how Palestinians must work together to develop the Palestinian political system and provide an opportunity for young men and women to participate in choosing their representatives in the Legislative Council.
Additionally, one of the young male participants, Muayad Atawnah, stated that the basic conditions that the democratic process requires are no longer available in the Palestinian society in the quality, form, and extent needed for that process to play its role and achieve its social goals. Therefore, it is necessary to search for the reasons for the weakness of these factors and how to address them in order to review the basic requirements and the entire democratic process. He further stated: “We believe that it will take determination and hard work to develop the democratic process that relies on socio-cultural pluralism, not just political.”
ABOUT THE PROJECT
The project also seeks to foster civic engagement by providing safe and interactive spaces that link young activists with decision-makers to bridge the gaps between them by knowledge sharing. It aims to enhance the participation of young women and men in advocating for positive change in democratic processes through monitoring public policies, drafting policy papers, and providing policy suggestions.
To achieve this, the project provides the social and political activists with the ability to engage in a deep analysis of power dynamics between different social components and points of access through facilitating public debates. “PARTAKE II” increases youth’s awareness in democratic processes and enhances their abilities in pressuring policymakers to hold elections with their participation.