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Quick facts about the PLC elections

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Fact Sheet
Israel
Palestine
Jerusalem

What are Palestinians voting for?

Palestinians in the West Bank -- including East Jerusalem -- and the Gaza Strip are casting ballots for the 132-seat Palestinian Legislative Council (PLC). The last legislative elections were in 1996.

How many people are eligible to vote?

As of 10 August 2005, the number of eligible voters registered on the voters list stood at around 1.35 million. Elections are limited to those Palestinians living in the occupied territories - only, i.e. those living in the areas occupied by Israel in June 1967. This includes the Gaza Stripwhich Israel pulled out of in August 2005. There are 123,000 eligible voters in Jerusalem.

Almost 80% of the estimated total eligible voters are now registered on the voters' list.

Anyone who is registered on the voters' list is eligible to vote. To register you have to prove the following: your age, identity, Palestinian citizenship and place of residence.

Palestinians with Israeli citizenship are not eligible to vote nor are Palestinian refugees and their descendants who live as refugees in other countries.

Parties include:

Fatah

Hamas

The Alternative Third Way

Independent Palestine

National Coalition for Justice and Democracy

Polling and Counting:

A polling staff of more than 17,000 is recruited through the Ministry of Education and trained by CEC officials. The day before the election kits with ballot papers, ballot boxes, and other electoral materials are delivered to the more than 1,000 polling and counting centers.

Polling and counting centers are usually located in the same place as the registration centers. They have up to five polling stations depending on the population distribution in the surrounding district.

The polls are open from 7 am to 7pm on Election Day.

When the last voter has voted, the ballot box will be sealed and the counting procedure will begin. Ballot counting takes place in front of local and international observers, party and candidate agents, and the media.

Electoral system

On 18 June 2005, the PLC ratified a new elections law (Elections Law No. 9 of 2005), which adopts the mixed electoral system for PLC elections, in contrast to the 1996 general elections, which were held in accordance with the system of simple majority.

The mixed electoral system combines the majority system (districts) and the system of proportional representation (lists). The law divides the 132 seats of the PLC equally between the majority system (66 seats) and the system of proportional representation (66 seats).

Based on the majority system, Palestine is divided into 16 electoral districts (11 in the West Bank and 5 in the Gaza Strip). Each district is allocated a number of seats in the parliament according to population numbers. In the system of proportional representation, Palestine is considered as one electoral district.

In accordance with the law, each electoral list must include a minimum of 7 candidates and a maximum of 66 candidates. Each list must include at least one woman in the first three names, at least one woman in the next four names and at least one woman in each of the five names that follow in the list.

Each voter receives two ballot papers. The first paper contains the names of candidates competing for the seats of the electoral district from which the voter selects a number of candidates not exceeding the number of seats assigned for each district. The second paper contains the competing lists from which the voter must choose only one list.

In the majority system (districts), the seats allocated to each electoral district are won by candidates who obtain the highest number of valid votes in that district. Six out of the 66 seats allocated to the majority system are reserved for Christians. Seats are won by Christians who obtain the highest number of votes in the district.

Source: Central Election Commission and CEC media contact Rola Sirhan.

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