(photo credit: AP)
Hamas supporters scored a victory in elections for the school teachers' union of the United Nations Relief and Works Agency (UNRWA) that were held in the Gaza Strip on Wednesday.
However, the rival PLO list won a majority of votes for two other UNRWA workers groups: the employees' and the services' unions.
This means that the PLO list has enough votes to form the next Executive Council of the General Workers' Union.
The results showed that Hamas won all 11 seats of the teachers' union.
The Hamas victory means that Hamas supporters will continue to control UNRWA-run schools and other academic institutions throughout the Gaza Strip. Hamas has controlled the UNRWA teachers' union for the past 16 years.
Some 10,100 UNRWA workers participated in the election, with the turnout being estimated at more than 97 percent.
The voting was conducted at UNRWA's main headquarters in the Gaza Strip.
The PLO list that ran in the election consisted of Fatah, the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine, the Democratic Front for the Liberation of Palestine and the People's (Communist) Party.
The PLO list won five out of seven seats of the employees' union and five out of nine in the services' union.
The services' union will have three PLO representatives on the Executive Council, while the employees' union will have only two.
A Hamas official in the Gaza Strip expressed satisfaction with the results, saying they were an indication of the "enormous support" that Hamas continues to enjoy.