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Report: Qaddoumi rejects Fatah elections, maintains leadership role

Aug. 13, 2009 3:02 P.M. (Updated: Aug. 14, 2009 1:39 P.M.)
Bethlehem - Ma’an/Agencies - Regardless of the outcome of the elections in Fatah’s Sixth Congress Farouq Qaddoumi maintains he is still the legitimate secretary of the faction, a Gaza-based on-line news agency, Shehab, reported Wednesday.

There has been little word from Qaddoumi since he launched accusations at Fatah Chair and Palestinain President Mahmoud Abbas along with Fatah leader from Gaza Mohammed Dahlan, saying the two had conspired with the CIA and Israel to assassinate Yasser Arafat.

Qaddoumi did not attend the Sixth Fatah Congress in Bethlehem, and did not nominate himself for a seat on the Central Committee, the top governing body of Fatah of which he has been a part for the last 20 years. The day voting for the committee started, and following the uncontested election of Abbas to the head of the committee, Abbas publically invited Qaddoumi to return to the party. "Those who own their mistakes are the best among us,” he said.

The speech sparked rumors that Abbas would seek to appoint Qaddoumi to one of the now three vacant seats in the Central Committee. Responding to the suggestion, however, he was quoted as saying: “I am still the secretary of Fatah, and I don’t need a recommendation from anyone as my record in the Movement testifies for me.”

The long-time leader, who now lives in exile in Tunis, categorically rejected the legitimacy of the conference proceedings and the elections in Bethlehem. He alleged that the party regulations do not allow for public voting. Abbas was elected by a show of hands, on camera, on the third day of the conference.

“This form of voting is considered as indirect coercion to influence the will of the electorate and give absolute power to the ruler to banish his opponents,” Qaddoumi told the paper.

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