RAMALLAH, West Bank – The Fatah (search) movement, the ruling party of the Palestinian Authority, decided Friday to hold its first internal elections in 16 years on Aug. 4, according to Amin Maqboul, a senior Fatah official.
The elections will choose new members of the Fatah Revolutionary Council, the Central Committee and other leadership institutions of the party, which was led by Yasser Arafat (search) until his death Nov. 11.
Many of the younger leaders in Fatah had bitterly complained they had been frozen out of the top leadership positions in Fatah because the party had not held a general conference to elect a new leadership since a 1989 gathering in Algeria.
The decision to hold new elections is a clear effort to placate the young guard. However, the meeting will come months after elections for the Palestinian Legislative Council, promised by June.
Aug. 4 is Arafat's birthday, Maqboul said.