during the Fatah party convention in Bethlehem
By John Lyons, Middle East Correspondent | August 15
THE ruling faction of the Palestinian Authority, Fatah, appeared to be in chaos yesterday amid reports of mass resignations and claims this week's election was fraudulent.
The allegation of fraud in the election of Fatah's new central committee was made by Ahmed Qurei, a former prime minister in the Palestinian Authority, who suggested the election was rigged to ensure that candidates who were close to Israel were elected.
In an interview in the London-based Al-Quds Al-Arabi newspaper, Mr Qurei, who was an unsuccessful candidate this week for the central committee, said: "There are many big question marks about the election, the way it was conducted and the way the votes were counted. There were behind-the-scenes arrangements that removed some names and added others to the list."
He described three successful candidates who he said were close to Israel as "rubber stamps" -- Mohammed Dahlan, Jibril Rajoub and Tawfik Tirawi.
"Was it by coincidence that these men won?" he said.
The claim of fraud came amid reports of large-scale resignations in protest at the outcome of elections held at this week's conference.
The Jerusalem Post reported that every member of Fatah's higher committee in the Gaza Strip had submitted their resignations in protest at what one of them described as "massive fraud" in the election for the central committee.
It said the resignations were seen as a serious embarrassment for Fatah and its leader Mahmoud Abbas. Read more here ...
Source: The Australian