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Fatah elections: Seven members miscounted; Abdul Rahim in

Aug. 12, 2009 7:56 P.M. (Updated: Aug. 14, 2009 10:09 A.M.)
Bethlehem - Ma’an - Elections Committee Chair Ahmad Sayyad announced the final results of the Fatah Central Committee, confirming a 19-member leading body and announcing new numbers for the votes of seven elected members.

The announcement followed two days of counting and re-counting, with Fatah officials releasing preliminary results Monday, confirming them Tuesday, then announcing a tie, with Abbas’ aide and Secretary General of the Palestinian Presidency At-Tayyib Abdul Rahim as having gained 16th place, he was number 19 with 637 votes on first count.

In the final re-count, requested by ousted former member of the committee Ahmad Qureia, Abdul Rahim remained in 16th place, with the would-be bumped Shtayeh ending in a tie with formerly 17th place Fatah member Abbas Zaki. The number of appointed members was reduced to three, following the announcement of the expanded number from elections.

Results are listed below with numbers changed from the preliminary announcement changed in bold.

1 – Muhammad (Abu Maher) Ghneim: 1,338 30 = 1,368

2 - Mahmoud Al-Aloul: 1,112 -10 = 1,102

3 - Marwan Barghouti: 1,063

4 - Nasser Al-Kidwa: 964

5 - Salim Za’noun: 920

6 - Jibril Rajoub: 908

7 - Tawfiq Tirawi: 903

8 - Saeb Erekat: 863

9 - Othman Abu Gharbiya: 854

10 - Muhammad Dahlan: 853

11 - Muhammad Al-Madani: 841 -20 = 821

12 - Jamal Muheisen: 733

13 - Hussein Ash-Sheikh: 726

14 - Azzam Al-Ahmad: 690

15 - Sultan Abu Aynein: 677

16 - At-Tayyib Abdul Rahim: 637 26 = 663

17 - Abbas Zaki: 641 1 = 642

18 - Muhammad Shtayeh: 638 4 = 641

18 - Nabil Sha'ath: 645 - 4 = 641

Following the announcement of the latest results, Sayyid noted, “as head of the elections committee I hereby announce the official results as supervised by President Abbas, and with the acknowledgement of Presidency spokesman Nabil Abu Rdeineh said that the elections were free, clear and so accurate.”

The unannounced Wednesday evening recount of the Fatah Central Committee elections ballots saw officials announce a tie for the 18th and final place in the movement’s highest governing body.

Officials had confirmed the preliminary results published on Monday, but refused to confirm the rankings by Tuesday evening. One unnamed official hinted that there was one box being recounted.

Despite the rumored single-box recount, Jericho Governor and Fatah leader Kamil Hmeid announced on Wednesday morning that the results of the preliminary list were confirmed as official. A statement from Hmeid said the names for the Central Committee “will not change.”

Three hours later sources in Fatah said a tie for 18th place was confirmed, and that both men would be part of the council.

The confusion came after Fatah’s Palestinian Authority-linked establishment suffered major upsets in the leadership vote. Top peace negotiator Ahmad Quriea, who was in the top 20 at first count, remains ousted in the unexpectedly competitive race for 18 elected seats on the 23-member committee.

Others, including jailed resistance leader Marwan Barghouthi and controversial former Gaza strongman Muhammad Dahlan, won seats for the first time.

Abdul Rahim

In late July sources said Abdul Rahim had decided not to stand for election to Fatah’s Central Committee, noting he hoped to make room for younger leaders to step up. The Fatah leader had earlier described the younger generation of Fatah as the “spine of the Palestinian national project.”

According to the same sources, Abdul-Rahim was set to become a member of a new governing entity Fatah intended to form called the Higher Council, or Advisors’ Council. No such council has yet been made public, and no further mention of any higher council has been made.

Sources said Abdul Rahim nominated himself for the Central Committee the morning of the vote. Following the first round of vote counting observers speculated that Abdul Rahim would be one of those four members appointed by the committee following elections.

Revolutionary Council votes being counted

Vote counting for Fatah’s second-highest governing body, the Revolutionary Council, started on Wednesday morning and will last three days, according to Munir Salameh, the executive director of the Fatah congress in Bethlehem.

An elected member of the movement’s top body, the Central Committee, Muhammad Al-Madani, said counting would take a significant period of time because of the large number of candidates (617) and large number of voters (2,241). He also said that the vote count would take place under the supervision of the party’s election committee along with monitors.

There are 80 elected seats on the 130-member revolutionary council, with the rest to be appointed after the election. Prominent candidates include the former member of the Al-Aqsa Brigades in Jenin, Zakariya Zubeidi, Jewish intellectual Uri Davis, and Fadwa Barghouthi, the wife of the charismatic Fatah leader Marwan Barghouthi.

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