The Arab Thought Forum (ATF) is committed to the belief that state structures must be developed to serve and be responsive to an active and critical public, which is conscious of its obligations and duties, as well as its rights and entitlements

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Building consensus on electoral reform in Palestine

During the year 2009, The Arab Thought Forum in cooperation with the Carter center and the UNDP  are initiating new intervention related to the  election reform in Palestine.

The initiative will build consensus for critical electoral reform in the occupied Palestinian Territory. The project would facilitate dialogue between key stakeholders as well as promote constructive public debate on electoral reform issues, including the overall design of the electoral system, the role of political parties and candidates, and the procedures and jurisdiction of official electoral bodies. These efforts support the reform and development agenda of the Palestinian Reform and Development Plan (PRDP). In addition, inter-parties dialogue and public debate on technical issues will facilitate communication between various Palestinian political factions and reinforce broader political reconciliation efforts.

The project is being implemented by the Center and the Arab Thought Forum (ATF), which will engage targeted constituency groups, including selected Palestinian political activists, civil society representatives, both men and women, and elected officials on electoral reform issues. The Carter Center and ATF will work with local and international expert consultants to provide a detailed analysis of the existing election law, related Presidential decrees, and a broad range of suggested reforms.

Through a series of roundtables, workshops and private consultations, the Carter Center and ATF will work to build a consensus among these groups on issues of electoral reform. In addition to private meetings and consultations with key stakeholders, the Center will organize town hall meetings in each of the 16 electoral districts to disseminate electoral reform proposals more broadly and encourage extensive public discussion within Palestinian civil society. The Carter Center and ATF activities will culminate in efforts to help Palestinian stakeholders to draft legislative reform proposals and/or reform through presidential decree of the electoral system, as appropriate, as well as a binding code of conduct for political parties during an electoral cycle.

Expected Output:
1) The Palestinian electoral code is reviewed for consistency with international standards and common practices, and baseline of desired electoral reforms is established.
2) Awareness of Palestinian civil society, political leaders and public officials on critical issues of electoral reform is increased; dialogue and consensus building among stakeholders on key issues of electoral reform is encouraged.
3) Legislative action to draft/adopt amendments to the electoral code is promoted, as appropriate, and the signing of an electoral code of conduct for Palestinian political parties is facilitated.

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