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Thursday, 6 August 2009

Fatah delegates accuse leadership of corruption in chaotic conference

The first Fatah conference in 20 years nearly disintegrated into fisticuffs on Wednesday as angry delegates demanded records of the corruption-ridden movement’s finances.

At the conference younger participants also accused veteran functionaries of stacking the conference with outsiders to ensure their reelection.

The atmosphere among the 2,200 delegates was so chaotic and acrimonious that the Fatah leadership announced that the conference would not end on Thursday as planned, but would continue “a few more days” so as to permit all sides to be heard.

The object of the gathering had been to rejuvenate the tattered image of Fatah in order for it to overcome its arch-rival Hamas in the elections next year, and resume its role as a mainstream movement that speaks for all Palestinians. However, the recriminations and lack of any seeming consensus in the conference’s first two days have undercut Fatah’s leadership aspirations. More