Fatah acting to stall PA parliamentary elections in July (HA´ARETZ NEWS) By Arnon Regular 01/30/05)
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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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