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Fatah leaders resign over Birzeit University election loss

May 20, 2022 at 11:05 am

Palestinian students supporting Hamas movement celebrate a victory in student elections at Birzeit University on the outskirts of Ramallah in the occupied West Bank on 19 May 2022. [ABBAS MOMANI/AFP via Getty Images]

A number of members of the Fatah movement have resigned after the crushing defeat of the party faced in the Birzeit University student council elections this week.

The Islamic Bloc, a Hamas student body, won a landslide victory in the Student Council of Birzeit University in the north of the occupied West Bank city of Ramallah on Wednesday.

In response, Fatah’s Secretary in Ramallah and Al-Bireh, Muwaffaq Sahweil, as well as members of its organising committees stepped down.

Local media reported that Sahweil has posted a letter on one of the movement’s closed groups on Facebook saying: “I have submitted my resignation … because I bear full responsibility [for the defeat], and I call on the movement to form an investigation committee, because I have a lot to say.”

He added that “the movement has been filled with intruders and mercenaries,” adding that “movement cadres and senior officers in the security establishment as well as senior employees of the Palestinian Authority, their sons and daughters work as cadres in the Islamic bloc.”

“I am waiting to be summoned to appear before an investigative committee, and this is a final and irreversible decision,” he added.

A letter addressed to members of the Ramallah and Al-Bireh District Committee also revealed the resignation of the secretary and members of the Umm Al-Sharayet District Committee.

The letter, dated Wednesday, said: “We submit our resignation from the membership of the regional committee in light of the disastrous results in the Birzeit University Student Council elections… We will remain loyal soldiers of the Fatah movement as long as we live.”

The Hamas-backed bloc won 28 seats with 5,060 votes, while the bloc supported by Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas’ Fatah won a mere 18 seats with 3,379 votes.

The university said the voter turnout stood at 78.1 per cent.

READ: Fatah pays election price for PA’s mistakes, says official