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Middle east

Fatah to renew leadership at stormy congress


Latest update : 2009-08-08

While the head of the Palestinian Authority, Mahmoud Abbas, is running unopposed for Fatah's presidency at the party's first congress in 20 years, a number of party veterans are expected to make way for a younger generation of leaders.

AFP - The Fatah party founded by iconic Palestinian leader Yasser Arafat was to start renewing its governing bodies for the first time in 20 years with candidates due to register on Thursday night.
"The candidacies for the Central Committee and the Revolutionary Council will be registered tonight," spokesman Nabil Amr told journalist at the Fatah congress in the West Bank city of Bethlehem.
Voting should start on Friday afternoon, he added.
While Palestinian president Mahmud Abbas, who took over the party's leadership after Arafat's 2004 death is unopposed, a number of party dinosaurs are expected to make way for the younger generation.
Among those seen as leading candidates are Marwan Barghuthi, the party's West Bank secretary general who is held in an Israeli prison, former preventive security chief Jibril Rajub and Mohammed Dahlan, once Fatah's strongman in the Gaza Strip.
Longstanding Hamas-Fatah tensions boiled over in June 2007 when the Islamists seized control of Gaza after a week of deadly street clashes, confining Abbas's power base to the Israeli-occupied West Bank.
Infighting and corruption allegations have contributed to weakening the dominant position in Palestinian political life that Fatah enjoyed before Arafat's death.
Opening the congress, the first in 20 years, Abbas on Tuesday admitted a litany of past errors by the party, and called for "a new start."
But the next day was marked by acrimonious rows as delegates demanded accountability from the party leadership.
Hundreds of delegates protested the lack of administrative and financial accounting since the last congress in 1989 and rejected explanations that this was contained in Abbas's opening speech.

Date created : 2009-08-06