Palestinian Elections: Third 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 Monday evening, 23 January 2006, early voting of Palestinian security forces for the Palestinian legislative commenced have been completed. Voting of security forces started on Saturday morning, 21 January 2006, and has continued for 3 days, in accordance to amendments to article 73 of the Elections Law No. 9 of 2005, which allow security forces to vote on the three days that precede the official date of election.

According to the Central Election Commission (CEC), by 15:00 on the third day of voting, 53227 security personnel (90%) 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 58705, including 36091 in the Gaza Strip. By 15:00 on the third day of voting, 32853 (91%) of security personnel who have the right to vote in the Gaza Strip had voted.

PCHR has recruited 70 observers, half of them 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 third day, 18 PCHR observers have monitored these elections in 6 polling centers in the five districts of the Gaza Strip.

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

Polling centers closed at 19:00 on the three days in accordance with the law. According to procedures designed by the CEC, ballot boxes have been closed by special locks and the boxes have been kept in a safe place guarded by the police and CEC officials. Counting of votes in ballot boxes of security forces will commence together with the commencement of counting of votes on the official day of elections, which is 25 January 2006.

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