Jerusalem The ruling Palestinian party, Fatah, failed to hold primaries Friday, blaming infighting and extortion attempts by militants.
While the delay was not expected to affect the timing of parliamentary elections Jan. 25, it could further alienate a young guard hoping to bring new blood into the party. Fatah was trying to unite to face the strong challenge of the Islamic Hamas group at the polls.
Ahmed Diek, coordinator of the Fatah elections committee, said the 11 voting districts in the West Bank and five in the Gaza Strip still have until Nov. 25 to hold primaries. Party bosses will appoint candidates for districts that do not hold primaries by then, he said.
Fatah legislator Qadoura Fares, a member of the young guard, said he fears Fatah leaders, representing the older generation, might try to keep out newcomers and thus force them to run as independents.
The primaries were postponed in part because armed Fatah groups were threatening to disrupt the polls unless they were paid off with plum civil service jobs, Diek said.