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Fatah acting to stall PA parliamentary elections in July (HA´ARETZ NEWS) By Arnon Regular 01/30/05)Source: http://www.haaretz.com/hasen/spages/533492.html HA'ARETZ} NEWS SERVICE HA'ARETZ} NEWS SERVICE Articles-Index-TopPublishers-Index-Top
Senior Fatah officials are acting to put off parliamentary elections in the Palestinian Authority in July, following the Hamas victory in municipal elections in the Gaza Strip last Thursday.

Palestinian Prime Minister Ahmed Qureia convened a meeting in his Abu Dis office on Friday, when the extent of Fatah´s defeat to Hamas became apparent. Officials suggested postponing the parliamentary elections for fear of another quashing defeat.

Palestinian sources said PA Chairman Mahmoud Abbas, who is visiting Egypt, called during the meeting to receive an update on the results.

The July elections were declared by a presidential order of interim PA President Rawhi Fattouh. Before leaving office when Abbas was elected, Fattouh said all the orders he issued were void. Senior Fatah officials say this enables the postponement of the elections until after Fatah´s sixth convention in August, so that they can better prepare for them.

Fatah was badly beaten in the elections held in 10 local councils in the Gaza Strip. Hamas won a sweeping victory in seven authorities, including Beit Hanun in the north, and Dir al-Balah and Bani Suheila in the center.

Fatah won only in three authorities - the refugee camp Ma´aji, and in Zahara and al-Masdar, two small communities whose residents do not exceed 1,000 voters.

At about 6:30 P.M. on Thursday, just before the polls closed, Hamas activists in Bani Suheila started "flooding" the offices of the election committee with telephone calls complaining that Fatah people were attacking the polling stations. It transpired that Fatah activists started organizing transportation to the polls at the last minute in an effort to tip the balance in their favor.

A similar thing happened in the January elections, which Abbas won at the last moment, after Fatah activists started getting voters to the polls. However, the Hamas won 77 out of 118 seats, while Fatah got 26. (© Copyright 2005 Haaretz. 01/30/05)

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