Palestinian Elections: Second day voting of the security forces

A member of the Palestinian security personnel with inked finger after castes his vote for the parliamentary elections. Palestinian Police and security personnel are on their second day to cast their ballots for the legislative elections, in the West Bank town of Ramallah January 22, 2006. (MAANnews/Charlotte de Bellabre)

On Sunday, 22 January 2006, early voting of Palestinian security forces for the Palestinian Legislative Council continued for the second consecutive day. Voting of security forces started on Saturday morning, 21 January 2006, and will end on Monday evening, 23 January 2006, in accordance to the amendments to article 73 of the Elections Law No. 9 of 2005, which allow security forces to vote on three days preceding the official date of election.

According to the Central Election Commission (CEC), 49.6% of security personnel in the West Bank and the Gaza Strip voted on the first day. By 15:00 on the second day of voting, 75.9% of security personnel had voted. The number of security personnel who have the right to vote in polling centers throughout the West Bank and the Gaza Strip is 58,705, including 36,091 in the Gaza Strip. By the end of the second day of voting, 26,562 (73.6%) of security personnel who have the right to vote in the Gaza Strip have voted.

PCHR has recruited 70 observers, half of whom are female, to monitor voting of security personnel in the Gaza Strip during the three specified days. These observers have been distributed to all polling stations throughout the Gaza Strip. On the first day, 22 PCHR observers monitored these elections in 6 polling centres in the five districts of the Gaza Strip, while on the second day, 21 observers monitored these elections.

According to preliminary reports from PCHR observers, elections have so far been held in a peaceful, transparent and impartial manner. However, PCHR observers have documented a number of violations, especially by supporters of some candidates. These violations have included continuous campaigning at the doors of polling centres.

Polling centres closed at 19:00 on the first and the second days in accordance with the law. According to procedures designed by the CEC, ballot boxes were closed with special locks and the boxes were kept in a safe place guarded by the police and CEC officials. The CEC also designed a special protocol to be completed at the commencement and closure of polling on each day, as a substitute for ordinary protocols of commencement and closure of polling. Counting of votes from security forces will commence together with the counting of votes cast on the official day of elections, which is 25 January 2006.

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