Statement by UN Special Coordinator Tor Wennesland on the Postponement of Palestinian Legislative Council elections
I take note of the Palestinian leadership decision to postpone Legislative Council elections scheduled for May 22. I fully understand the disappointment of the many Palestinians who have so clearly expressed a desire to exercise their democratic rights after nearly 16 years without elections.
Recognizing widespread international support, I encourage Palestinians to continue on the democratic path. The holding of transparent and inclusive elections throughout the Occupied Palestinian Territory, including in East Jerusalem as stipulated in prior agreements remains essential for renewing the legitimacy and credibility of Palestinian institutions and opening the path to re-establishing Palestinian national unity. This will also set the path toward meaningful negotiations to end the occupation and realize a two-State solution based on UN resolutions, international law and previous agreements.
Setting a new and timely date for elections would be an important step in reassuring the Palestinian people that their voices will be heard. The United Nations reaffirms its support to strengthening the Palestinian national institutions. A prolonged period of uncertainty risks exacerbating the fragile situation.
I call on all parties to maintain calm, show restraint and refrain from violence. I urge leaders on all sides to take steps to reduce tensions, and create the conditions for a resumption of the electoral process.