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Friday, April 22, 2011     GET REAL

Islamists boycotting West Bank student elections

RAMALLAH — Islamist movements have boycotted elections in Palestinian universities in the West Bank.


Palestinian sources said Hamas and Islamic Jihad boycotted student council elections in Palestinian universities throughout the West Bank. The sources said Hamas and Jihad cited the Palestinian Authority crackdown on the Islamic movements, including the arrest of student leaders.

"Every time Hamas and Jihad run openly for elections, their student leaders are arrested," a Palestinian source said.

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As a result, Fatah has been winning student elections. In April, Fatah captured the student council at Bethlehem University, long a stronghold of Hamas. Fatah won 18 seats in a contest limited to the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine and the Democratic Front for the Liberation of Palestine.

Earlier, Fatah won elections in another Hamas stronghold, Bir Zeit University near Ramallah. Fatah student leaders have been aligned with sponsors in the PA.

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