Sven Kühn von Burgsdorff, the European Union’s Head of mission to the Palestinian Authority (PA), expressed hope that “every Palestinian can elect his/her leaders in free and fair elections all across the Palestinian territory, including in East Jerusalem,” in clear opposition to Israel’s stance on the issue.
The PA and EU celebrated on Tuesday the inauguration of the new headquarters of the PA’s Central Elections Commission (CEC) in Ramallah. Chairman of the CEC Dr. Hanna Nasir, von Burgsdorff, and members of the PA leadership attended the event
The European Union contributed €6 million to the construction and furnishing of the new headquarters “in accordance with the best international standards.”
The seven-story building also serves as the district office for the governorate of Ramallah.
The opening of the new CEC headquarters comes in parallel with local elections scheduled for 11 December.
Nasir expressed hope that the inauguration of the new headquarters “will be a starting point for holding general elections as soon as possible in East Jerusalem, the West Bank and Gaza Strip.”
Von Burgsdorff declared that the project is “not just about a new building and better workspace for our partners at the CEC. This is about maintaining hope for millions of Palestinian youth who never had the chance to vote in national elections. This is about ensuring that every Palestinian can elect his/her leaders in free and fair elections all across the Palestinian territory, including in East Jerusalem. This is about protecting the inalienable human right of the Palestinian people to self-determination.”
The PA has been pushing for the right for Arab residents of Jerusalem to vote in its elections, a demand Israel has opposed while viewing it as an infringement on its sovereignty in its capital.
“The EU will continue to call for credible, inclusive and transparent elections for all Palestinians,” he underscored, calling for a new date for national elections to “be set without delay.”
Pa head Mahmoud Abbas was elected in January 2006 and after his tenure ended, has been ruling as a dictator, repeatedly postponing scheduled national elections, most recently in May, in a struggle to maintain his control on the PA.