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Palestinian president dismisses several members from Fatah party

Sept. 9, 2016 5:02 P.M. (Updated: Sept. 16, 2016 10:48 A.M.)
RAMALLAH (Ma'an) -- Palestinian President and leader of the Fatah movement Mahmoud Abbas issued orders on Thursday dismissing members from Fatah -- the ruling party of the Palestinian Authority (PA).

Head of the media committee of Fatah Munir al-Jaghoub identified the dismissed party members as former Minister of Local Governance Khaled Fahd al-Qawasmeh and Deputy Head of the Hebron Municipality Jawdi Abu Sneineh.

Al-Jaghoub told Ma’an that the decision to dismiss them came after al-Qawasmeh and Abu Sneineh ran on lists other than Fatah’s in Hebron’s municipal elections, adding that additional members of the party would also be dismissed at a later date.

However, al-Qawasmeh said he had not received any official dismissal order from Fatah.

The Fatah Central Committee had demanded members commit to Fatah’s party list during the elections, saying that any member that ran on a different list and did not withdraw by Sep. 5 would be dismissed.

The decision to dismiss al-Qawasmeh and Sneineh came just a day after the Palestinian Supreme Court in Ramallah cancelled municipal elections after several appeals challenged the legitimacy of the elections, and a court in the Gaza Strip dropped five Fatah-affiliated candidates from participating in the local elections in the besieged enclave.

The Fatah-dominated, PA -controlled cabinet in the West Bank announced its decision to hold elections in June, but it remained uncertain whether the Hamas party that rules the Gaza Strip would be included in the process, after Hamas boycotted the last local elections in 2012 in response to alleged corruption and intimidation among Fatah officials.

In July, Hamas announced their participation in municipal elections, paving the way for elections to be held for the first time in a decade in the small Palestinian territory.

Analysts had claimed that Hamas’ participation in local elections would have signaled the possibility of long-overdue general elections being held in the West Bank and Gaza.

The last elections in the Gaza Strip were held in 2006, when Hamas’ victory erupted into a violent conflict between Hamas and Fatah as both groups attempted to take control of the besieged coastal enclave.

Gaza was placed under an Israeli military siege in 2007 following Hamas' victory in the general elections and subsequent takeover of the government. The nearly decade-long siege has severely crippled the economy and further isolated the Gaza Strip from the rest of the Palestinian territory.

The two parties reached a reconciliation agreement in 2014, but its practical implementation was met with failure as a result numerous political disagreements between the two groups.
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