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Monday, January 16, 2006

The Oxymoron of Palestinian Democracy

For those of you foolish enough to think that there really can be a 'Palestinian democracy,' consider this article....

PA security forces told to vote Fatah

The Palestinian Authority's West Bank security chief has sent a letter to PA security forces instructing them to vote for Fatah candidates in the upcoming Palestinian Legislative Council elections, The Jerusalem Post has learned.

The letter, signed by Tarek Zeid, was sent more than two weeks ago, and said that the early voting for security forces would take place in the security barracks.

"We consider this a serious violation," said Michael Murphy, the country director of the National Democratic Institute, which in conjunction with the Carter Center is heading one of the the observer missions monitoring the January 25 elections.

Some policemen complained on Sunday that their commanders had ordered them to vote for Fatah, threatening them with dismissal.

When the Central Elections Commission received a copy of the letter some two weeks ago, it caused an uproar among CEC's board members.

"We immediately forwarded it to [PA Chairman Mahmoud Abbas]," said CEC chairman Ammar Dweik. "He communicated to the interior minister [Nasser Yousef] that this is illegal and that the security forces should be encouraged to vote but not told for whom."

Nevertheless, during the same time, the PA cabinet refused to allow security forces to vote at official polling stations. The police would vote at their barracks, the cabinet decided two weeks ago.

According to NDI/CC, voting within the barracks "would create many opportunities for fraud and manipulation."


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