At the end of the past month two expert campaign managers from the German Social Democrats visited Israel and the Palestinian Territories to gain perspective on the political situation in the region and facilitate workshops for Palestinian youth and alternative parties in cooperation with the FES. I had the pleasure of accompanying them and facilitating their work.
Following the collapse of the National Unity Government and the creation of an Emergency Government, elections could take place in the Palestinian Territories as early as January. Strengthening alternative parties and equipping young leaders with campaigning skills and a coherent and productive platform can lay the foundation for a more democratic future.
In this spirit, our office welcomed the two veteran campaigners and organized workshops with young members of the Fatah movement as well as the alternative Al-Mubadara party. The first workshop was conducted with members of Shabibet Fatah. Young people from all across the West Bank traveled to Ramallah to take part. Young members of the Fatah movement were trained in campaign planning and strategy as well as platform development.
We spent the subsequent days in a comprehensive workshop with members of the Palestinian National Initiative (Al-Mubadara) facilitating the preparation for the next elections. Members developed campaign stratgies and began organizing themselves internally in order to implement the campaign. At the end of the two day session Mubadara members gave positive feedback and indicated their readiness to engage young people and women in the next election.
Moreover, the trip included meetings with local academic and research organizations to stress the ways in which Palestinian parties could and should draw from external think tanks, policy consultants and experts in preparing for elections. Political parties not only need to be able to identify sound policy advice, but should also serve as a catalyst for turning good ideas into productive policy. Parties cannot win elections only by identifying problems of the past. They must also stand on a platform of coherent ideas that guides the electorate toward a promising future. There are extensive resources in the Palestinian Territories for policy development.
Broad participation among all Palestinian demographics is critical for enhancing participation among of all members of society in representative democracy.
Posted By Erin Wroblewski
Posted Aug 1st, 2007