Ramallah- The Fatah Movement concluded on Saturday its congress by voting for new members of its Revolutionary Council to be officially announced on Sunday as part of the party’s preparations to choose a successor to Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas.
The congress extended the voting process on Saturday due to the presence of a large number of candidates. A total of 64 candidates are competing for 18 seats in the Central Committee and 423 candidates are running for 80 seats in the Revolutionary Council. The Central Committee is considered the highest body of the Fatah Movement. The new Committee is expected to elect a vice president to Abbas from inside the party.
Last week’s congress also turned the page of expelled Fatah leader Mohammed Dahlah, even if temporarily, against the wishes of some Arab countries. Abbas already hinted to the issue in a long speech which he had delivered during the Congress when he said that he does not interfere in the issues of any Arab state, and does not want anyone to interfere in the Palestinian issues. Dahlan is currently in exile in the United Arab Emirates.
Abbas had cast his vote on Saturday during the elections held at the party’s Ramallah headquarters in the West Bank and also at one center in the Gaza Strip, which witnessed a large turnout of Congress members who were prevented from leaving the strip after Israel refused their passage through its territory to Ramallah.
The Fatah Congress also accepted a proposal by Abbas to name three of the Central Committee members as honorary, non-voting members. They include Farouq Qaddoumi, Salim Zanoun and Abu Maher Ghneim.
After casting his vote, Abbas said: “This is a celebration of democracy in all its measures. The world has witnessed those democratic and transparent meetings. We therefore wish that our brothers achieve their responsibilities towards their people and their case.”
Counting the votes has already started and the final results will be announced on Sunday.
The announcement of the winners at the new Central Committee could give clues to who could be the possible successor to Abbas. Fatah is holding its first congress in seven years.