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World Briefing / West Bank

Abbas reelected head of Fatah

August 09, 2009|TIMES WIRE REPORTS

Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas was re-elected to lead his Fatah movement at its first convention in two decades, giving him a new mandate for peace talks with Israel, if he can also mend divisions among his people.

Abbas, who succeeded Palestinian leader Yasser Arafat after his death in 2004, was elected unopposed, but the movement itself has lost its shine in the last five years. Its old guard has been accused of rampant corruption and nepotism and it has suffered military humiliation at the hands of rival Hamas.

Addressing the conference, Abbas promised change.

"In our history we've had many launches and setbacks," he said. "Sometimes we have reached the edge of the abyss -- but we have always returned stronger."

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