[QODLink]
Archive
Saeb Erikat wins re-election

Saeb Erikat, one of the best-known world faces of the Palestinian Authority, has won re-election to parliament in his home town of Jericho, beating back a challenge from a Hamas candidate.

Last Modified: 26 Jan 2006 01:34 GMT
Erikat (R) is the Palestinian chief peace negotiator

Saeb Erikat, one of the best-known world faces of the Palestinian Authority, has won re-election to parliament in his home town of Jericho, beating back a challenge from a Hamas candidate.

But Erikat was not celebrating. He acknowledged that his Fatah party took a beating at the hands of the voters on Wednesday, and many of his colleagues were defeated.

Erikat said he won two-thirds of the vote in the Jordan River Valley oasis town of 30,000, defeating Khaled Rai, 36, who had the backing of Hamas. Erikat called it "a staggering victory over Hamas and their allies".

But he said Fatah must do some soul-searching and revitalise its internal institutions. He said in its 10 years in power, Fatah had failed to deliver in two key areas.

"I think above everything else, we promised Palestinians will deliver them toward peace, and today we are still under [Israeli] occupation," he said, "and then, this big motto of corruption and misgovernment that Hamas used very well in its campaign."

Exit polls show Erikat's party, the ruling Fatah, winning enough seats in the parliament to form a government without Hamas, which took more than one-third of the vote. However, Erikat indicated that options are open.

"It's premature to speak now about the shape and form of the cabinet," he said, "but I can tell you that this will be the beginning of a new Palestinian political life, a new horizon."

Background

Erikat, 50, the Palestinian official in charge of negotiations with Israel, is a leading spokesman for the Palestinian Authority and appears often on international television news programmes, using his fluent English to explain the Palestinian case.

Erikat is a political science professor by profession but has been deeply involved in Palestinian politics for two decades.

The election battle in Jericho was in many ways a microcosm of the entire contest. While Erikat represented the establishment, Rai pointed to Hamas accomplishments in the quiet town - a medical clinic and a shelter for 500 children, as well as financial aid to 300 families, all funded by donations, mostly from abroad.

However, Erikat himself had an advantage over many of his Fatah colleagues. He was not tainted by corruption charges that have plagued the Fatah-led Palestinian government for the past decade.

Source:
AFP
Topics in this article
People
Country
City
Organisation
Featured on Al Jazeera
As Western stars re-release 1980s charity hit, many Africans say it's a demeaning relic that can do more harm than good.
At least 25 tax collectors have been killed since 2012 in Mogadishu, a city awash in weapons and abject poverty.
Tokyo government claims its homeless population has hit a record low, but analysts - and the homeless - beg to differ.
3D printers can cheaply construct homes and could soon be deployed to help victims of catastrophe rebuild their lives.
Featured
Pro-Russia leaders' election in Ukraine's east shows bloody conflict is far from a peaceful resolution.
Critics challenge Canberra's move to refuse visas for West Africans in Ebola-besieged countries.
A key issue for Hispanics is the estimated 11.3 million immigrants in the US without papers who face deportation.
In 1970, only two mosques existed in the country, but now more than 200 offer sanctuary to Japan's Muslims.
Hundreds of the country's reporters eke out a living by finding news - then burying it for a price.