Wafaa’ Islamic Bloc, from Hamas movement, won 25 out of 51 seats in the Birzeit University Students Council elections, held on April 27, 2016.
Competing factions Martyr Yasser Arafat Bloc, from Fatah, got 21 seats and the Democratic Progressive Student Pole won 5 seats.
The bloc representing Leftist movement Palestinian Front for the Liberation of Palestine for its part came out with five seats, while other leftist parties including the Democratic Front for the Liberation of Palestine and the Palestinian People’s Party did not receive enough votes to garner a seat.
Head of the Elections Preparatory Committee and Dean of Student Affairs Mohammad Al-Ahmad said that 7578 out of 9892 eligible students to vote participated in the elections, with voting rates at 76.61%.
The number of null votes was 173 and empty votes amounted to 51.
President Abdel Latif Abu Hijleh applauded the students’ commitment and cooperation.
“ The Students have embarked upon one of the fundamental exercises of democracy. The Student Union is first and foremost a democratic organization that represents the students at Birzeit University. The university seeks to contribute in promoting peaceful, democratic and inclusive societies.”
One day before the elections, a student debate between the competing blocs was held in which each bloc presented its electoral program and its goals and objectives, followed by questions asked by the Student Affairs dean.
In the 2015 elections, the Islamic Wafaa’ Bloc won 26 seats out of 51, the Martyer Yasser Arafat Bloc won 19 seats, Student Progressive Democratic Pole Bloc held five seats and Birzeit Students Alliance won one seat.
The Hamas movement congratulated the Islamic bloc for its win at Birzeit and said the victory was an indicator that the movement still had strong sway among the Palestinian public.