The Steering Committee for the Dialogue and Consensus-Building Initiative carried out by the Arab Thought Forum and the Carter Center, held a meeting on 2011-05-28. The committee was composed of the Palestinian political parties in addition to the Central Election Commission, representatives from the National Committee for the Monitoring of Elections, and civil society representatives. The purpose of the meeting is to discuss a new Code of Conduct for the election, and emphasize the necessity of honoring the new electoral code, which is modeled after the electoral code developed in anticipation of the 2005 legislative elections.
Participants in the meeting include: Fatah movement, Change and Reform block Martyr Abu Ali Mustafa, the Democratic Front for the Liberation of Palestine, Democratic Union (FIDA), the Popular Struggle Front, Palestinian Liberation Front, the Arab Liberation Front, the Palestinian Arab Front, Assaiqa Organization, Baath Arab Socialist Party, and the Central Election Commission.
A variety of different views about the timing of this debate were articulated, but all participants agreed that it is imperative for all parties intending to run in the coming election to sign the code of conduct. In forming a consensus on this point, participants were taking into account the lessons learned from the 2006 elections and attempting to learn from this experience. Participants also emphasized that in order to maintain the integrity of the electoral process the international community would need to respect the results of the election, on the basis of democratic principles. Finally, it was also suggested that signing of the new electoral code is linked to the final approval of the electoral law.
The meeting concluded with a number of recommendations. Most importantly, representatives in the Steering Committee agreed to return to their respective political parties to receive an initial commitment to the electoral code. Observations and the outcomes of the discussion will be presented separately by each party. Finally, a drafting committee will be formed to finalize the code, at which point representatives of political parties will be asked for their signatures.