On Monday, Fatah leaders in the Gaza Strip called off primary elections after rival Fatah gangs fought street battles and stormed polling stations, firing into the air and stealing ballot boxes.
Primary elections that were held in five West Bank areas late last week have resulted in a stunning defeat for representatives of Fatah's old guard.
'What happened in the Gaza Strip is a real disaster for Fatah,' said Haitham Salah, a Fatah operative. 'It shows that we are living in a jungle full of gangs and militias.' (Bright guy, this Salah. - EoZ)
Many of the candidates who lost the vote have since complained of irregularities and cheating, urging Abbas to cancel the results and hold new elections. PA officials here said the turmoil in Fatah could force Abbas to postpone parliamentary elections scheduled for January 25.
PA Civil Affairs Minister Mohammed Dahlan, who is running in the primary elections, called on Abbas to form a commission of inquiry to look into the events that took place in the Gaza Strip on Monday. He accused veteran Fatah leaders of seeking to disrupt the vote to prevent young activists from winning.
Dahlan and many other Fatah activists fear that Abbas is planning to appoint his own candidates to run in the parliamentary vote because of the party's failure to hold free and democratic elections. "The era of appointments is over," Dahlan stressed, referring to times when Yasser Arafat used to appoint Fatah officials. "We insist on elections."
Sources in the Gaza Strip said Dahlan's followers were among the gunmen who raided several polling stations to protest against the fact that the names of thousands of Fatah members had been omitted from voting lists.
I love how the most violent people are the first ones to lecture others on democracy!