The Hamas affiliated students in Birzeit University, near Ramallah, on Wednesday won the majority of seats in the student council elections, the non-governmental public university reported. This marks the third year in a row that the Islamist faction defeats the PLO-affiliated students.
According to a press release issued Wednesday evening by Birzeit university, the Hamas-led al-Wafaa Islamic Bloc won 25 of the 51 student council seats, compared with the PLO’s Martyr Yasser Arafat faction’s 22 seats. The Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine (PFLP) affiliates won four seats. An impressive 74% of the university’s 10,859 students voted.
The Birzeit student elections are closely watched by political observers, because they are free and transparent, as befits the most prestigious university in the Palestinian Authority. As such, observers expect that these results reflect what the vote would be like in a free and open election to the PA leadership.
The last such election was held in January 2005, and won by Mahmoud Abbas. Since then Abbas continues to rule without a popular mandate, which does not appear to trouble foreign governments, including most recently the Trump White House, from referring to him as the legitimate “president.”