News ID: 115130
Publish Date : 17 May 2023 - 22:41

Hamas List Wins Key University Elections in West Bank

WEST BANK (Dispatches) – A Hamas-affiliated list has won student elections at a key West Bank university for the first time in 16 years, in the latest sign of dwindling support for the Palestinian Authority (PA).
The Islamic Wafa bloc secured 40 seats out of 81 available in the student council of Nablus’ an-Najah National University on Wednesday.
Its main rival, the “Shabiba” bloc - the student arm of the PA’s ruling party, Fatah - won 38 seats, while three seats went to a list linked with the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine (PFLP).
The an-Najah polls, along with elections at Ramallah’s Birzeit University, are considered the bellwether of West Bank politics. The results of these elections are read as a reflection of wider Palestinian society, its position on the PA, and voters’ orientations in any broader elections that may be held in the future.
“The exclusionary approach [of the PA] in the West Bank and the repression [of opponents] led people to hold onto their principle more firmly,” said Sayel Amara, a lecturer at an-Najah.
“The PA must rethink its political project, because it doesn’t have the support of the majority [in Palestine],” he told Middle East Eye.
The election results come a year after undercover security officers attacked Hamas-affiliated students at an-Najah, who were later expelled by the university, leading to more protests and anger directed towards the PA.
It also follows last year’s election victory for Islamic Wafa at Birzeit University, another leading independent institution in the West Bank.
Meanwhile, the popularity of armed resistance against the Zionist occupation - a strategy often associated with Hamas - has soared in Nablus in the last year, especially with the rise of new groups such as The Lions’ Den.
An-Najah’s student council has been dominated by the Shabiba bloc since 2007.