Fatah faction beats Hamas in elections at Palestinian university (HAīARETZ NEWS) By Amira Hass 04/06/12)
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A group associated with Fatah won the Student Council Elections at
Bir Zeit University near Ramallah, in which of 8,000 students study
for both graduate and undergraduate degrees.
Of the 6,000 students that participated in the vote, 2,194 gave their
vote to "The Martyr Yasser Arafat" bloc, giving it full reign over
the council with 26 seats out of 51. The bloc associated with
Hamas, "The Islamic Relief" bloc, which participated in the election
for the first time in three years, followed behind by 600 votes. The
1,606 votes for Islamic Relief earned the bloc 19 seats. The
remaining six seats went to two Palestinian left groups.
Fatah supporters celebrated throughout Ramallah following the
announcement of the results at about 10 P.M. Wednesday night. Their
victory, by a greater margin than ever before, boosted the confidence
of Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas´ party, at a time when
economic instability had been overshadowing a political dead end.
During the past few years, Hamas had boycotted the student body
elections at West Bank universities, claiming that the Palestinian
Authority´s security forces arrested key activists barring any chance
of fair elections. This time, the elections were held without any
By breaking down the voting data, one can learn that the younger the
students the more likely they were to vote for the Fatah. For
example, Fourth and fifth year students voted 389 for the Fatah, 380
for the Hamas, while first year students voted 687 for the Fatah and
437 for the Hamas. This discrepancy may be due to the Hamasís
decision not to participate in the past three years, weakening their
presence in the student body.
According to students the debate between the two factions was more
centered on the issue of national reconciliation than the conflict
The voting took place on Wednesday from eight to four in the
afternoon with the presence of Palestinian security personnel in
civilian clothing felt by the voting students.
Once the voting ended the students were asked to leave and the
tallying of the votes began.
Nine parties competed for seats on the student council, including The
Martyr Saddam Hussein bloc. Five failed to win a single seat. (©
Copyright 2012 Ha´aretz 04/06/12)
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