Citing the lack of accountability and democracy, dozens of Fatah
activists in the Gaza Strip
resigned on Tuesday in a move that is likely to deepen division in the ruling party that is led by Palestinian Authority
Chairman Mahmoud Abbas
The mass resignations of over 240 activists come as Fatah prepares to hold primary elections to choose its candidates for next January's parliamentary elections. The activists who quit represent the young guard in Fatah and their resignation is seen in the context of an ongoing power struggle with the party's veteran leaders.
"We have spent the last 10 years trying to improve conditions in Fatah," the activists said in a letter addressed to Abbas. "During the past five years of the intifada we also made precious sacrifices to reform the party and lead it to a better path. Today we are submitting our resignations in protest against the lack of democracy and accountability in the party."
Fatah's primary elections were supposed to be held earlier this month, but were delayed for several weeks because of the power struggle between the old guard and the young guard, whose representatives are demanding a bigger say in decision-making. Moreover, the young activists fear that the veteran leaders, particularly those who came after the signing of the Oslo Accords, are planning to maintain their tight grip on the party's leadership through a series of regulations that impose restrictions on those seeking to run in the primary elections.
The latest crisis is regarded as a severe blow to Abbas's efforts to unite Fatah ahead of the parliamentary elections in a bid to prevent Hamas from making a strong showing. "The divisions in Fatah and the deepening crisis between the young guard and the old guard play into the hands of Hamas," a top Fatah official in Ramallah
told The Jerusalem Post
Meanwhile, a public opinion poll showed that Fatah will win in the parliamentary elections. According to the poll by the Birzeit University
Development Studies Programme, 45.6 per cent of Palestinians will support Fatah in the vote as opposed to 23.1 per cent for Hamas.
The Marxist Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine
came in third, with only 2.3 per cent. The People's [Communist] Party got 1.6 per cent.