Hamas Scores Decisive Win in Hebron University Elections

Hamas scored a decisive victory in student elections at Hebron University in the West Bank yesterday, a university spokesman said, winning almost twice as many seats as the Fatah faction of Palestinian leader Mahmoud Abbas. The spokesman said Hamas won 25 of the 41 council seats, followed by Fatah with 13 and Islamic Jihad with three.

In recent years Hamas has been increasing its support in universities in the West Bank and the Gaza Strip, and controls the majority of student councils. The council at Hebron University, which has 4,200 students, has been in Hamas hands since 1993.

Local Hamas leader Adnan Abu Dabani said the victory augured well for Hamas prospects in Palestinian parliamentary elections, set for July. "Today we won Hebron University and next will be the Palestinian parliament, because we are the majority and Hebron is a stronghold of Hamas," he said.

Hamas announced earlier this month that it would contest in the parliamentary elections, but a spokesman said it would not be part of any governing coalition. Hamas is expected to fare well in the election because of voter frustration with corruption and inefficiency in the Palestinian Authority.