The Demand for Direct PNC Elections – Historical Background
This civic registration drive takes place within an older and broader campaign for direct elections to the Palestinian National Council (PNC). The call for direct elections to the PNC has three components: it is the official policy of the PLO, it is the national consensus, and it is a popular civic demand around which Palestinian communities in the homeland and shatat have mobilised.
Article 5 of the PLO’s Fundamental Law states that members of the PNC must be elected ‘by direct vote from the Palestinian people’. The electoral system, issued on 17 July 1965, also says:
Every Palestinian has the right to vote in PNC elections if he/she is 18 years old, if his/her name has been recorded in the final electoral registers, if he/she is of sound mind, and has not been convicted of a crime against national honour.
The Palestinian parties called for the democratic reform of the PLO through direct PNC elections at several recent national meetings in Cairo, during 2011 and early 2012, under the auspices of the National Reconciliation Committee. At those meetings, all Palestinian factions currently outside the PLO structure of representation confirmed their commitment to democratic elections to the PNC.
This renewed call for direct elections to the PNC is the culmination of years of discussion, and a broad national consensus has emerged across the main political parties, civil society, and Palestinian communities across the world.
Commemorating the 64th year of the Palestinian Nakba in May 2012, political leaders from the Central Committee of Fateh, the Political Bureau of Hamas, as well as leaders of the Palestinian political parties, independents, and intellectuals issued the landmark National Call for registration to the Palestinian National Council. It calls on Palestinians in the homeland and shatat to participate in the civic registration drive for registration for PNC elections []
Since 2006, the national consensus amongst major parties has been to issue calls for creation of a democratic PLO. In the Prisoners’ Document signed on June 28th 2006, elections to the PNC became a point of consensus to which all major Palestinian parties agreed:
‘national interest stipulates the formation of a new Palestinian National Council before the end of 2006 in a manner that secures the representation of all Palestinian national and Islamic forces, factions and parties and all sectors of our people through elections’.
Amongst refugees a civic mobilisation took place between 2002 and 2006 and the results were published in the volume entitled “Palestinians Register: Laying Foundations and Setting Directions”. This mobilisation involved the participation of thousands of Palestinians in self-organised meetings across 24 countries. These meetings, were designed and carried out by Palestinian communities themselves, in order to strengthen their own voices to their national representative, the Palestine Liberation Organization (PLO).
Throughout the public meetings, common themes and collective demands formed the two central findings of Palestinians Register. First, a commitment to the inalienable rights of the entire Palestinian people, foremost amongst them the Right of Return; and second, the demand for national representation for all Palestinians through a newly elected PNC.
PNC elections has also been the key demand of Palestinian youth groups inside Palestine and outside of it. It was one of the main slogans used by youth groups in 2011 and 2012, and brought together young Palestinians from all factions and parties. On January 10th 2012, shortly before a PLO committee meeting on reactivating the PLO was convened, Palestinian youth from ten cities around the world met to discuss the next steps towards achieving genuine democracy and representation for all Palestinians through direct elections to the Palestinian National Council (PNC) The results were published online www.nextstepstopnc.org.
 National call for registration in PNC elections: http://www.maannews.net/eng/ViewDetails.aspx?ID=496333