Abbas suspends all Fatah internal polls

Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas has suspended primary elections of his ruling Fatah movement over widespread fraud in Gaza and the West Bank.

    The suspension comes after fraud claims on Monday

    Ahmad al-Dik, head of the Fatah commission supervising the ballots, said:

    "Abbas has instructed the election committee to stop the entire election process in all areas as a result of the
    widespread fraud.

    "With regard to the constituencies where primaries have not yet taken place, the president said that this issue will be under discussion until a decision is taken on whether or not to continue the process," he added.

    Al-Dik accused some security forces of complicity in the fraud.

    Speaking to reporters after returning to his headquarters in Ram Allah from a summit in Barcelona, Abbas said that the results of primaries which had already taken place would still be respected.

    "As for the areas where primaries have not taken place, we are going to examine this question in order to find an appropriate solution as the Fatah lists must be presented on time," he said.

    Polling stations stormed

    Primaries in the Gaza Strip were cancelled on Monday after Fatah fighters stormed some polling stations, complaining the vote was unfair. 

    Last week, voters in primaries in the occupied West Bank cast aside veteran Fatah politicians in favour of newcomers.

    "Abbas has instructed the election committee to stop the entire election process in all areas as a result of the
    widespread fraud"

    Ahmad al-Dik, head of the Fatah commission supervising the polls

    The primaries, ahead of a January parliamentary election in which the resistance group Hamas poses a strong challenge, were Fatah's first. They have been seen as a key step for Abbas - who has not succeeded in restoring order in Gaza - to assert control.


    Many young Fatah activists, long frozen out of power by entrenched "old guard" party leaders, insisted that transparent primaries determine the party's legislative slate rather than secret back-room negotiations.

    But disorder and violence upset the voting and led to its

    cancellation.


    At some of the roughly 190 Fatah polling stations on Monday, many
    voters found that their names were not on the registration lists or that they had been mistakenly registered at the wrong station.

    Fatah officials said it was their first
    experience holding a primary, and they had only a short amount of time to compile lists of the 200,000 eligible voters in Gaza. 

    SOURCE: Agencies


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