'Hamas will defeat Fatah in May elections'

Former PA minister Nabil Amr warns that his party will be defeated again if new elections are held in Palestinian territories.

Fatah member looks at list of candidates 311 (R) (photo credit: Fadi Arouri / Reuters)
Fatah member looks at list of candidates 311 (R)
(photo credit: Fadi Arouri / Reuters)
A senior Fatah official warned Thursday that Hamas would once again defeat his faction if and when new elections are held in the Palestinian territories.
Nabil Amr, a former Palestinian Authority minister, said that Fatah leaders have sent a letter to President Mahmoud Abbas (who also heads Fatah) calling on him to hold a conference to discuss preparations for the elections, slated for May.
RELATED:'Abbas in a stronger position with Hamas in PLO' Hamas and other radical groups to join PLO
Abbas has announced that he would like to hold elections on May 4. However, many Palestinians are skeptical that he would be able to hold the vote, largely due to the ongoing dispute between Hamas and Fatah.
Fatah has come under criticism for failing to draw conclusions from its defeat to Hamas in the 2006 parliamentary election.
Since the Hamas victory, Fatah has failed to come up with a new list of candidates.
Moreover, internal squabbling between Fatah’s young guard and veteran leaders continues to undermine the faction’s credibility in the eyes of many Palestinians.
Last week, Amr and several Fatah leaders held consultations in Jordan to discuss ways of avoiding another electoral defeat to Hamas, as was the case in the last parliamentary vote.
“Yes, we are concerned,” Amr said in an interview with the London-based Al-Quds Al-Arabi newspaper. “Unless the situation in Fatah changes, what happened in the past could occur once again.”
He pointed out that Fatah had lost not only in the parliamentary election, but also in elections for local councils and some unions.
Amr said that an “overwhelming majority” in Fatah believes there’s a need for changes in the faction.
He revealed that several top Fatah representatives have appealed to Abbas to hold an emergency conference to “reorganize the internal affairs of Fatah.”
Amr said there was also growing concern that many disillusioned Fatah members would not vote in favor of their faction in the next elections.
He also expressed concern over the “negative attitudes” voiced by many Palestinians towards the PA leadership.
Referring to the current Israeli-Palestinian talks in Amman, the top Fatah official said that many Palestinians feel that the PA leadership has not been sincere about its true intentions.
He pointed out that in the eyes of many Palestinians, their leaders have abandoned their demand for a cessation of settlement construction as a prerequisite for returning to the negotiating table with Israel.