“Marwan Barghouti, a senior Fatah prisoner imprisoned in Israel, is determined to face Abu Mazen [Mahmoud Abbas] for the Palestinian presidency and is expected to run with the full support of Muhammad Dahlan, a Fatah official ousted by Abu Mazen,” said a senior Fatah official.
The source says that Barghouti sees a possible election victory as the key to his release from prison, after 19 years in prison, but beyond that, this is the biggest chance of the middle generation in Fatah to oust the older generation.
“Marwan is expected to both top the Fatah list for the Legislative Council and run for the presidency,” the Palestinian source said, explaining that if he won the July 31 presidential election, he would resign from the Legislative Council, which will be held on May 22.
Last Friday, Abu Mazen, the chairman of the Palestinian Authority, announced the election order for the Legislative Council and the Palestinian presidency. As part of the order, elections to the PLO National Council are also expected on August 31. The publication of the order rekindles the power struggles in Fatah, in light of the PA’s intention not to allow Muhammad Dahlan, who is hated by Abu Mazen, to run for office following a criminal conviction several years old. The Palestinian Election Commission spoke to the media and said things in this spirit.
The loyalists of Dahlan, who heads the Fatah reformist faction, now say that if they cannot run on a single list, they will run through a separate Fatah list. Marwan Barghouti, who, like Dahlan, feels deprived by Abu Mazen is expected to be Dahlan’s winning card and bring, so the young Fatah members hope, the replacement of the older generation by the organization’s young people.
Marwan Barghouti receives a lot of support from Dahlan and the two are working to form a coalition against Abu Mazen’s Fatah list. Last year, when the PA was heading toward elections, Barghouti signaled his intention and then Abu Mazen offered him to run on the Fatah list to the Legislative Council provided he does not challenge him.
Sources told TPS that Jibril Rajoub, secretary of the Fatah Central Committee, is now working to ensure that only Abu Mazen will be a presidential candidate and therefore he is trying to persuade Barghouti not to run against the PA chairman.
Rajoub also pledged to American officials to do everything in his power to ensure the election of Abu Mazen without a contest, with the consent of all elements in the Palestinian arena.
It was also learned that Jibril Rajoub, head of the Fatah Central Committee, is currently seeking the chairmanship of the Legislative Council and is behind an attempt to establish a joint list for Hamas and Fatah.
According to Fatah sources, a draft agreement already exists and according to it, Hamas will recognize the PLO as the sole source of Palestinian authority and will not undermine it, and will also recognize the exclusive authority of the Palestinian Authority as a sovereign body also in the Gaza Strip, instead of the current situation in which Hamas controls it.
The draft also states that in return, a unity government will be formed after the election and Hamas will be part of it and so will Hamas be part of the National Council of the PLO, and will join this organization for the first time.
According to some sources, there is also the possibility that Fatah and Hamas will also divide the seats in the Legislative Council, with the former receiving 70 seats and the latter receiving 60 seats, out of 132 council seats.
The PA will also undertake as part of the agreement between Fatah and Hamas to carry out a series of reforms and, in particular, to amend the president’s relations with the Palestinian parliament, in a way that will give parliament more power and erode Abu Mazen’s power.