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Today, the European Union and the Palestinian Authority laid the cornerstone of the new headquarters of the Palestinian Central Elections Commission (CEC) in Ramallah. The event was attended by the Palestinian Prime Minister Dr. Rami Hamdallah – representing President Mahmoud Abbas, the EU Representative Mr. Ralph Tarraf, and the Chairman of the CEC, Dr. Hanna Nasir.
The EU has contributed €5 million to the new building. It extends over 6500 square and of seven floors. The building will include the Central Elections Commission's technical departments in addition to conference halls, warehouses, and a data entry centre. It will also serve as the district office for Ramallah and El Bireh cities.
The EU supports the CEC to allow it perform its functions towards promoting a democratic and pluralist society. Through this partnership, the EU and the Palestinian partners work together to make sure that Palestinians are confident that their voices matter, heard, and can make a difference.
In his speech, Dr. Hamdallah considered the event itself as a contribution to fostering democratic institutions towards the consolidation of the Palestinian independent and democratic state. Dr. Hamdallah also praised the CEC’s work and professionalism and expressed appreciation to the EU’s support to the Palestinian people and its government.
On his part, the Chairman of Central Elections Commission, Dr. Hanna Nasir, welcomed attendees of Ministers and officials to the ceremony and extended his appreciation to everyone who contributed in supporting the CEC’s project, especially the EU, being the funding agency and key partner to the CEC since its establishment. Dr. Nasir also expressed appreciation to the role of the government in facilitating the procedures of construction.
At the ceremony, EU Representative Ralph Tarraf said that "The European Union is a proud partner of the Central Election Commission. We support the CEC in its efforts to promote democracy in Palestine ". Mr. Tarraf added that the "EU believes that enhanced participation of Palestinians in the electoral process is important to ensure the respect for fundamental basic rights".
The current CEC headquarters is located in different areas of Ramallah and El Bireh cities. A single integrated building for the CEC will better serve the mandate of the commission and ensure that security standards are met. The new building is also expected to significantly reduce the operational costs for the CEC.