Carter Center Municipal Elections Report Offers Recommendations, Urges Third Phase in Gaza

Read the Final Report


ATLANTA (April 15, 2022) — The Carter Center today released the final report from its international election expert mission to Palestine’s 2022 local council elections.

The Center’s election expert mission was limited in size and scope, focusing its assessment on three sets of issues: the legal and administrative framework for the elections; the degree of political engagement, competition, and respect for participatory rights; and the implications of the municipal elections for future elections in Palestine. The team did not conduct a thorough assessment of election-day voting and counting processes, nor of the electoral process as a whole.

The report finds that the March 26 elections were peaceful and well-administered. Virtually all major cities in the West Bank experienced competitive electoral contests, notwithstanding a formal boycott by Hamas; a highly challenging political and electoral environment marked by frequent human rights violations, including intimidation and harassment of political actors; continued Israeli occupation, and a long-standing political impasse between the two leading Palestinian political movements, Fatah and Hamas.

Unfortunately, Palestinians in Gaza were unable to exercise their freedom of expression in the polling booth as Hamas, which controls the Gaza Strip, prevented the occurrence of elections there.

In spite of this highly charged political environment, the Central Election Commission conducted the polls in a professional, independent, and transparent manner. The CEC’s efforts to ensure that voters had access to timely and professional-quality voter education through effective use of online communications is consistent with international best practices and bodes well for future electoral contests.

Interlocutors reported less disinformation and inflammatory language online than in the more polarized political context of the postponed 2021 legislative elections. Civil society organizations conducted factchecking throughout the municipal elections, and there was a lively online campaign, offering greater freedom of expression than offline means of communication.

Restrictive legal provisions on freedoms of expression and assembly, the impact of the killing of activist Nizar Banat by Palestinian security forces, the arrests of various candidates by Israeli authorities, and the fears caused by a repressive political environment all hindered the full expression of citizens’ rights and cast a shadow over what was a technically well-administered electoral process.

The indefinite postponement of national elections has prevented Palestinians from electing national representatives since 2006, stifling democratic progress. Virtually all Palestinian stakeholders agree that reconciliation between the major parties, Fatah and Hamas, is essential for genuine democratic development.

The Carter Center commends voters, civil society, and national observation organizations for their democratic commitment on election day and throughout the post-election period and calls on Palestinian leaders to move forward with presidential and legislative elections that would provide the Palestinian people with the opportunity to fully exercise their fundamental, electoral, and political rights.

The final report is available in English and Arabic.


The Carter Center was accredited by the Palestinian Central Elections Commission to observe the second phase of the municipal elections. It deployed a three-person expert team to monitor the polls from March 14-April 7. A fourth expert examined the online environment and social media remotely. The expert mission met with a broad variety of political, governmental, electoral, and civil society interlocutors.

The Carter Center’s mission was conducted in accordance with the Declaration of Principles for International Observation as endorsed by intergovernmental and international non-governmental organizations at the United Nations in 2005.


Final Report | March 26, 2022, Municipal Elections in West Bank/Gaza


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Contact: In Atlanta, Soyia Ellison,
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A not-for-profit, nongovernmental organization, The Carter Center has helped to improve life for people in over 80 countries by resolving conflicts; advancing democracy, human rights, and economic opportunity; preventing diseases; and improving mental health care. The Carter Center was founded in 1982 by former U.S. President Jimmy Carter and former First Lady Rosalynn Carter, in partnership with Emory University, to advance peace and health worldwide.