London - The Palestinian movement Fatah is scheduled to hold its first party congress in seven years in Ramallah on November 29th amid controversy over what some argue is a limited list of delegates.
A new central leadership committee will be elected during the gathering, which is expected to pave the way towards agreeing on a successor to Palestinian Authority (PA) President Mahmoud Abbas.
Abbas, 81, has been in ill health, and media reports suggest the new central committee will name a deputy for him at the end of the congress, which is expected to last two to three days. Abbas is also the head of Fatah and the Palestine Liberation Organisation (PLO) as well as the commander of the security forces.
The leak of the list of the gathering’s participants to the media has sparked outrage among veteran Fatah members who were not invited.
“Thousands of veteran Fatah members who represent the soul of the movement were excluded from taking part in the congress that shapes its future,” said Fadel Ashour, a Fatah member based in the Gaza Strip who was invited to the congress.
The number of delegates is said to be about 1,350. According to Ashour, about 3,500 took part in the last meeting in 2009.