Fatah gunmen shut down Gaza elections office

December 12, 2005 12:07

A group of masked Palestinian gunmen from the ruling Fatah Party raided the election office in the central Gaza town of Deir el-Balah and forced it to close Monday to protest their party's plans to appoint candidates for upcoming elections instead of holding primaries. Fatah canceled its November 28 Gaza primaries after gunmen disrupted at least a dozen polling places, firing in the air and stealing some ballot boxes. Many Fatah leaders hoped the primaries would help clear out the party's entrenched, corruption-riddled old guard and replace them with younger, more popular, leaders. The gunmen said Fatah officials' plan to appoint the candidates was a conspiracy.

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