Student elections, Birzeit University
Student elections, Birzeit University Issam Rimawi/Flash 90

Hamas supporters celebrated on Thursday a landslide student election win at Birzeit University, near Ramallah, AFP reported.

Hamas's Al Wafaa' Islamic bloc won 28 of the 51 seats on the student council at Birzeit University. The bloc aligned with Palestinian Authority (PA) chairman Mahmoud Abbas' Fatah movement won just 18 seats, according to AFP.

Following the win, students chanted and paraded Hamas' green flag across campus.

"Our victory in these elections confirms the support (for Hamas) of the Palestinian people," Osaid Qaddoumi, one of the bloc's candidates told AFP.

Hamas praised the results as "a rejection of the normalization" and "security coordination," in a reference to the PA’s ties with Israel.

Hamas official Fathi Hammad said that "the student movement has proven that (the youth) is the fuel to the revolution."

In the absence of elections in the PA, the student elections at Birzeit University have become a key gauge of Palestinian Arab sentiment.

The pro-Hamas bloc previously won the elections at the university in 2015, 2016 and again in 2017.

The PA has not held a general election since 2006. An election had been scheduled for last year, but Abbas officially announced in late April that it would be postponed.

While he cited Israel’s refusal to allow Arabs residing in eastern Jerusalem to vote as the reason for the postponement, many believe that the real reason is Abbas’ fear that he would lose the elections to Hamas.

This was not the first time that the PA has used Israel’s refusal to permit Jerusalem Arabs to vote as an excuse not to hold elections at all.

Abbas' term as PA chairman was meant to expire in 2009, but he has remained in office in the absence of elections.