Civic Registration
For Direct Elections to the PNC

Welcome to the homepage for the Civic Registration Drive for Direct Elections to the PNC.


The Civic Registration Drive is an important Palestinian national initiative launched in 2010.

Its purpose was to create a mechanism to register Palestinians around the world to vote for the Palestine National Council (PNC), the supreme legislative body of the Palestine Liberation Organisation (PLO). The outcome was an online voter registration mechanism, completed in 2013, which met international standards of data security, transfer and storage, and adhered to best practice in out-of-country voting procedures.

How Registration Works

Voter registration is a necessary part of any democratic process, and involves taking information from individual voters in order to place their names in a voter register, proving their eligibility to participate in elections. Voter registration is, therefore, key to political enfranchisement and it determines who is eligible to vote when elections take place. In many countries around the world, voter registration is also understood as an important moment in voter engagement, with civic associations and community organisations often conducting voter registration drives to expand awareness and voter enfranchisement.

Although this voter registration system is electronic, individuals do not register themselves on a website..


This timeline sets out the process by which the Civic Registration Drive for Direct Elections to the PNC was initiated, created, tested and eventually completed. It also included other important projects and events that informed the formation of the voter registration drive for elections to the PNC.
June 2006
January 2012
Spring 2012
February 2012 onwards
July 2012 onwards
September 2012
October 2012
March, 24 2013
Summer 2013
The Civitas Project

Between 2003 and 2006, a civic needs assessment was conducted amongst Palestinian communities in more than X number of countries. Amongst the many outcomes of the campaign was a clear demand from Palestinian exiled and refugee communities for elections to the Palestine National Council. You can read the full report of the project here: Click Here

Palestinian Prisoner’s Document Issued

June 2006: Palestinian Prisoner’s Document Issued
Palestinian political leaders within Israeli jails issue the ‘Palestinian Prisoner’s Document’ - a reconciliation document following the events of 2006 aimed at unifying Palestinians - which calls for elections to the Palestine National Council.

Official Authorisation

Palestine Liberation Organisation (PLO) Chairman Mahmoud Abbas gives official authorisation for the creation of a voter registration for elections to the Palestine National Council (PNC). [hyperlink to a picture of Abu Mazen’s letter]

National Reconciliation Agreements

Palestinian political parties respond to rising popular demands and demonstrations by signing reconciliation agreements in Doha (February 2012) and Cairo (May 2012) both of which affirm the need for PNC elections to be held later in the year.

Community Mapping

The Facilitation Office for the Civic Registration Drive for Elections to the PNC begins outreach with Palestinian community organisations around the world. This involves a detailed social and political mapping of Palestinian communities, providing background information and working with Palestinian embassies to raise awareness of the registration drive.
This culminated in a Europe-wide training workshop and preparatory meeting in Berlin, and a smaller gathering amongst Palestinian political parties in Beirut.

Technical Workshops and Testing

A number of workshops are held with elections experts, software engineers, policymakers and officials from the Palestinian Central Elections Commission and the United Nations Relief Works Agency (UNRWA) to finalise the voter registration mechanism.

Voter Registration Machine Completed

After months of technical work and preparations, the electronic voter registration machine is completed by Palestinian engineers, tested and approved for use.

Palestinian Parties and Independents Issue a National Call for Registration to the Palestinian National Council

Palestinian political parties from across the spectrum, independents, academics, and public figures issue a public call inviting Palestinians around the world to participate in the upcoming voter registration drive, with the National Call published in Palestinian newspapers Al Ayyam and Al Quds [hyperlink to a picture of the national call in the newspapers].

Registration Pilot amongst Palestinians in Syria

Registration Pilot amongst Palestinians in Syria

Palestinians in Yarmouk refugee camp in Syria choose to be the first to register to vote to the Palestinian National Council, despite the dire circumstances in the camp at the time. They run a successful pilot that confirms the robustness of the registration system and its preparedness for use in Palestinian communities globally.
The pilot is covered in key Palestinian newspapers (Al Ayyam, Al Quds and others), as well as television stations Palestine TV and Palestine Today.

Registration Work in Paused

The Facilitation Office are instructed, without explanation, to pause their work.


The PNC is the parliament of the Palestinian Liberation Organisation (PLO). It is the supreme legislative body representing the Palestinian people both inside and outside of Palestine. Its role is to represent all Palestinians in their current locations: the Palestinians of the shatat, as well as Palestinians within historic Palestine. It is where the decisions on national strategies and priorities are debated and made. The Charter of the PLO stipulates that there should be direct elections to the PNC, although they have never taken place.
After the Oslo Accords of 1993, the PLO Executive Committee negotiated the establishment of the Palestinian Authority, later known as the Palestine National Authority (PA or PNA). It was designed as a short-term, interim administrative entity under the authority of the PLO, charged with limited governance of certain areas of the occupied West Bank and Gaza Strip that were placed under Palestinian responsibility. The PLO remains the sole legitimate representative of the entire Palestinian people, and the official representative of their rights at the UN and other international fora. In 1996 the Palestinian Legislative Council (PLC) was created for the West Bank and Gaza Strip, and those elected to it were incorporated into the structure of the PNC, and represent that geographic sector of the Palestinian people in it. Most Palestinians eligible to vote in these areas registered with the Central Elections Commission (CEC), whose mandate is restricted to register Palestinians in the areas of Palestine occupied in 1967. There is now a comprehensive register for Palestinian voters for PLC elections in the Palestinian territories occupied in 1967, but no voter register for Palestinians outside those areas, where the majority of Palestinians currently live.
The call for direct elections to the PNC is based on years of campaigning and organising amongst Palestinians across the world, seeking a representative national institution that reflects the demands and positions of its people. It is based on three components: (1) a popular demand around which Palestinian communities in the homeland and shatat have mobilized, (2) the nationally expressed consensus and (3) the official policy of the PLO, and the National Reconciliation Committee comprised of all the parties. The basis for the demand lies in the PLO’s own fundamental laws; national positions such as the Prisoners Document of 2006, the various agreements of the National Reconciliation Committee in Cairo in 2010, 2011, and 2012; and the demands from hundreds of public meetings convened by Palestinians in the shatat, during earlier refugee mobilisations from 2003 to 2006.
Because the PNC is the highest legislative body representing all Palestinians, all Palestinians are entitled to vote in its elections (except for those already registered to vote through the PLC). A Palestinian is entitled to register as a voter for PNC elections in the civic registration drive, if:
  • S/he is not already registered in the voter register of the PNA in the 1967 occupied Palestinian territories; and,
  • S/he is of voting age at the time of the elections.
In line with relevant PLO and PNA laws, a person shall be considered Palestinian, if:
  1. S/he was born within the borders of Palestine as defined during the British Mandate era, or was entitled to acquire the Palestinian nationality under the applicable laws at that time;
  2. S/he was born in the 1967 occupied Palestinian territory and is not already registered;
  3. One of his/her ancestors falls under the application of paragraph (a) above, irrespective of where s/he was born;
  4. S/he is a spouse of a Palestinian.
The mechanism for registration has a protective system in place to verify the identity of Palestinians registering and confirm their eligibility to vote, while keeping that information both secure and private.
A national consensus exists about the need for the PLO to undergo urgent democratic reform so it can better reflect the national strategies and political positions of the entire Palestinian people. The required reforms lie in two areas. First there are the elections laws and guidelines under which democratic PNC elections will themselves be convened. Second are the reforms to the institution itself. Electoral laws and guidelines are the responsibility of a future electoral commission for the PNC, which has yet to be formed. Such a commission must be informed and guided by popular debate and democratic deliberations on how such elections should be convened as to best serve the Palestinian people everywhere. Institutional reforms of the PLO, such as amending the National Charter, should be implemented by a directly elected parliament representing the entire Palestinian people. Only such a parliament would possess the legitimate and popular mandate to undertake this work. The Palestinian people, along with their representatives, can then freely determine their national liberation strategies.

Documents & Resources

There are a number of important documents that provide information on the history of Palestinian institutions, the demand for PNC elections and the mechanisms of the voter registration drive:

Background Documents

تجريب ملف للاطلاع عليه في الموقع

Registration Technical Documents

Voter Registration Receipt - Arabic

Facilitation and Announcements

Announcement of Registration Commencement - March 2013

Facilitation and Announcements

Announcement of National Call - October 2012

Facilitation and Announcements

Announcement of Registration Machine Technical Completion - September 2013

Registration Technical Documents

Model Registration Drive Ticket

Registration Technical Documents

Chart of Identification Documents for Registration

Registration Technical Documents

Handbook for Registration Drive Organisers

Registration Technical Documents

Full Report of the Civic Registration Drive for PNC Elections

Facilitation and Announcements

Presidential Letter of Facilitation for Civic Voter Registration Drive to the PNC

Contact Us

The Facilitation Office (FO) is longer permanently staffed, although the voter registration machine and its procedures remain operational and able to restart at any moment. Volunteers at the FO are able to respond to any queries or questions you might have regarding the registration drive.