Abu Mazen cancels Fatah primary elections on West Bank and Gaza Strip over widespread fraud and violence

debkafile: This fiasco jeopardizes the Palestinian general election scheduled for mid-January 2006. It also renders unrealistic a key plank of the platform Ariel Sharon’s new party Kadima unveiled the same day, Nov. 28 – the goal of co-existence with a democratic Palestinian state cleansed of terrorists.
Three hours after polling began for the 48 Fatah parliamentary candidates in the Gaza Strip, the deal crafted by Mahmoud Abbas’ ally Mohammed Dahlan with the local Fatah secretary Abd Hiles blew up. The Fatah-al Aqsa Brigades revolt against the parent party and its leaders on the West Bank spread to the Gaza Strip with a vengeance, closing voting down abruptly before noon.
In Khan Younes, armed men drove the voters out of booths alleging slips of some of the candidates had been removed. In other places, voters were alleged to have been directed outside their districts to manipulate the results. Al Aqsa gunmen set fire to several ballot boxes and cars, turned their guns on election workers and starting melees across the territory – from Rafah in the south to Beit Hanoun in the north.
The failure belongs Dahlan, the smooth, Armani-suited purported Gaza strongman and his hangers-on who set up a situation room, deployed thousands of security guards and drew up detailed operations plans for the ruling Fatah’s first primary election. He and Abu Mazen convinced US secretary of state Condoleezze Rice and national security adviser Steve Hadley, as well as Sharon and Shaul Mofaz, that the Fatah was capable of holding an orderly primary vote as the prologue to a successful general election in two months’ time.
The winner of this failed experiment is the jailed Palestinian terrorist Marwan Barghouthi, who proved himself a prime vote-getter on the West Bank amid the general disorder. He is now seriously wooed by all of Abu Mazen’s men and will have much to say when they put together a Fatah slate without the benefit of an election. But above all, the Fatah’s armed faction, al Aqsa Martyrs’ Brigades, created by Yasser Arafat as a pool for suicide bombers, has show the Abbas administration and its foreign backers who is the real boss of the ruling Fatah.

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