CNI: Abbas? Election Decree: Wrong Step in Right Direction

Abbas? Election Decree is a Wrong Step in the Right Direction
Melissa Fleissner
CNI Staff
 
Last January, the Palestinian people took part in an election that marked a
sharp turn in their path to becoming a sovereign state. International
observers praised the elections as competitive, free and fair, among the
most democratic the Middle East has seen in recent memory. But it was the
victors who made the headlines: the Islamist party, Hamas.
 
Leaders in the United Nations? Quartet, particularly U.S. representatives,
immediately retorted that they would not recognize or negotiate with the
party that now controlled the Palestinian Legislative Council (PLC). Rather
than reward Palestinian leaders for their turn to democratic ideals,
President Bush?s refusal to recognize the legitimate winners punished the
Palestinians? achievement. We want democracy in the Middle East, Bush?s
policy says, but we want it our way. Election analysts and experts stressed
that Hamas? 2006 victory was in large part due to Fatah?s failure to
understand how the recently passed election laws would translate votes into
seats, not a public turn in support of Hamas.
 
On Sunday, President Abbas announced his decree of a new election law
establishing full proportional representation based on national party lists.
This decision repeals the 2005 Election Law 9 that divided half of the PLC
into party seats and the other half into district seats. President Abbas?
new decree eliminates district seats. In the next PLC elections, voters will
cast one vote for their party only. Each party will run a list of candidates
and will win a number of seats in proportion to its percentage of votes.
 
Due to this change, Fatah is almost certain to win a majority under the full
proportional representation system, despite its divisions and weaknesses. In
2006, Fatah lost seats because they divided the vote in District races by
putting up more than one candidate. In several cases the Fatah party won the
most votes, but because those votes were divided between Fatah candidates
the individual Hamas candidate won the seat.
 
Because the PLC is no longer functioning ? more than forty elected members
of Hamas have been detained by Israel ? President Abbas employs the Basic
Law provision that the President can issue decrees with the force of law in
the absence of the PLC. However, in the Basic Law this does NOT apply to
laws that have already been passed by PLC vote.
 
Although this decision is an abuse of presidential power, it makes the
possibility of new elections much more likely. A Fatah majority in the PLC
will strengthen the U.S. Administration?s working relationship with Abbas.
The Administration has refused to open a dialogue with any other party.
Abbas? decree is just one move in preparation for the September Middle East
Peace conference to be held in Washington.
 
This decision is a blow to Palestinian institutions and rule of law, but
President Abbas must make new PLC elections a top priority and overstepping
the Basic Law?s restriction expedited months of futile party squabbling. The
sooner a legitimate PLC reconvenes, the closer the Palestinian people are to
sovereignty. The U.S. and our partners must make strengthening institutions
our first priority. Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice has given that task
to former British Prime Minister Tony Blair as the Quartet?s Special Envoy
to the Middle East.
 
President Bush and Secretary Rice much prefer to deal only with those who
they are already friendly with. In defense and settlement negotiations,
President Abbas demands little. Israeli and U.S. policies will see no change
until the Palestinians can elect a strong President with the negotiation
skills to defend the people against occupational abuses and a parliament
with world legitimacy and recognition.
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
Fall 2007 Political Pilgrimage â?" Be a Citizen Diplomat!
Subject: Fall 2007 Political Pilgrimage â?" Be a Citizen Diplomat!
 
The Peace Conference Pilgrimage  (October 26-November 12)
 
A remarkable opportunity to tour Israel and her neighbors this fall from
October 26th through November 12th is still open for applications for
members of CNI and supporters of the CNI Foundation until September 15. This
tour will come only weeks or possibly days before the projected peace
conference called by President Bush.  It will be a unique opportunity to see
the preparations and reactions to the conference in Israel, Palestine,
Lebanon, Syria and Jordan.  Don?t miss this unique chance to represent your
country as a ?citizen diplomat? meeting with and interviewing both
government and opposition leaders in these countries.
 
The delegation members will meet in Washington DC on the morning of October
26 for a briefing at the DACOR Bacon House and members will depart for Tel
Aviv on October 27.  Former Ambassador Robert Keeley, a 34-year career in
the Foreign Service of the United States from 1956 to 1989, will lead the
delegation through the region.  The trip will cost $6,000, which includes
all airfare, ground transportation, hotel accommodations and meals.
 
Again, registration for the trip will close September 15, and please call
Shannon O?Hara at 202-863-2951 x301 to indicate your interest in joining the
group.  More information about the trip and the application forms are
available on our website www.cnifoundation.org.
 
Click here to make a tax-deductible donation:
 
 
Council for the National Interest Foundation
1250 4th Street SW, Suite WG-1 · Washington, DC 20024
800.296.6958 · 202.863.2951 · Fax: 202.863.2952
http://cnifoundation.org/  
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About reality

Also, thanx for signing my petitions, et al, please consider sharing them. Also, since Admin. of change.org aren't allowing me to invite people to do my actions lately and are switching my urls for my petitions so when I invite people off their site they can't get to the petition either (ergo 3 possible urls for each petition), here's a few of my latest actions; do as few or as many as you'd like (there are 3 linx for each petition because admin. switches between the 3 of them so people trying to sign the petition can‘t get to it): This post on Disabled Greens News and discussion: Haiti disaster anniversary, please, do what you can: http://groups.yahoo.com/group/DisabledGreensNews/message/9033 This petition on change.org: Haiti disaster anniversary: http://www.change.org/petitions/view/haiti_disaster_anniversary_2?share_id=yIpWHEHxri&pe=pce http://uspoverty.change.org/petitions/view/haiti_disaster_anniversary_2 http://www.change.org/petitions/view/haiti_disaster_anniversary_2   This post on Disabled Greens News and discussion: Green, Indigenous, Native American, etc., actions: http://groups.yahoo.com/group/DisabledGreensNews/message/9026 This petition on change.org: Green, Indigenous, Native American, acts: http://www.change.org/petitions/view/green_indigenous_native_american_acts?share_id=NHvTtQadfP&pe=pce http://uspoverty.change.org/petitions/view/green_indigenous,_native_american_acts http://www.change.org/petitions/view/green_indigenous,_native_american_acts   This post on Disabled Greens News and discussion: Art/Act: celebrate Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.'s birthday, holiday: http://groups.yahoo.com/group/DisabledGreensNews/message/9024 This petition on change.org: Art/Act: celebrate Dr. M.L. King, Jr.'s holiday: http://www.change.org/petitions/view/artact_celebrate_dr_ml_king_jrs_holiday?share_id=QjOkAUGeBQ&pe=pce http://uspoverty.change.org/petitions/view/art_act_celebrate_dr_ml_king_jr_s_holiday http://www.change.org/petitions/view/art_act_celebrate_dr_ml_king_jr_s_holiday   This post on Disabled Greens News and discussion: Green; NA; the evolution; Civil, Human, LP, Prisoner's Rights; Poverty; etc..: http://groups.yahoo.com/group/DisabledGreensNews/message/9022 This petition on change.org: Economically empower through advocacy: http://www.change.org/petitions/view/economically_empower_through_advocacy?share_id=WZNqBQWcXE&pe=pce http://uspoverty.change.org/petitions/view/economically_empower_through_advocacy http://www.change.org/petitions/view/economically_empower_throug
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