The Palestinian Fatah political party unanimously re-elected Mahmoud Abbas as the head of the party at the opening of its first leadership congress in more than seven years.
The re-election of the 81-year-old Abbas, who also serves as president of the Palestinian Authority, comes despite growing unpopularity and internal dissent within Palestinian society. Abbas has been increasingly challenged by a younger generation of Palestinian leaders, including exiled rival Mohammad Dahlan, who currently resides in the United Arab Emirates.
Later this week, members of Fatah’s parliament and central committee will hold elections to determine the future of the party, which largely dominates Palestinian society in the West Bank.
“The system from the 1960s no longer works in 2016,” Jibril Rajoub, a former Palestinian intelligence chief and Fatah central committee member, told AFP.
“We have to take into account the current circumstances. The current system was created when we were in the diaspora and we are now on national soil. It was put in place at a revolutionary stage. Now we have a state,” said Rajoub.