In a strong coming back, Fatah won Tuesday more seats than Hamas in the students’ council elections at Bir Zeit University, ending ten years of Islamic movement monopoly over one of the most important students’ body in the West Bank.

The national secular movements won 28 seats, while the Islamists won 23; consequently a secular coalition would enjoy a majority in the council, and would be able to form an executive body under the leadership of Fatah.

The results announced Tuesday night after a heated election campaign came as follows: Fatah (23), Hamas (22), the democratic block, PFLP supporters, (3), the Students platform, an independent secular group, (2), and the Islamic group, supporters of Islamic Jihad, won one seat.

Against previous expectations, the Fatah movement, which has been suffering serious fragmentations following the death of late President Yasser Arafat, came united and made a strong show.

Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas congratulated on Tuesday night Fatah leaders in the University for their “Sound Victory”, saying it was an important step to rebuild the movement’ leading capacity.   

Hamas leaders at Birzeit congratulated Fatah for their victory, assuring their disappointed supporters that Hamas will work to gain back the council in next year elections.