Will Marwan Barghouti Run in the Palestinian Presidential Race, and Should Mahmoud Abbas Be Worried?

A recent poll predicts that the popular Fatah leader, who is currently in jail for his involvement in terror, will get 22 percent of the votes if he ends up participating in presidential elections set for 31 July. If this is the case, the days in office of the current president, Mahmoud Abbas, could be numbered.

On Tuesday, 1 April, Marwan Barghouti, a Fatah leader who is serving five life sentences for his involvement in terror activity against Israel, announced he would set up his own list for legislative elections scheduled for the end of May. 

At the top of that list, called Freedom, will be Dr. Nasser Al Qudwa, a nephew of the late President Yasser Arafat, while Barghouti’s wife Fadwa will be second. 

According to reports, Barghouti himself will not participate in the race, but the mere fact that he will be setting up a separate ticket from Fatah might be a prelude for his presidential aspirations.  

Should Abbas be Worried?

Presidential elections in the Palestinian Authority and the Gaza Strip are set to take place on 31 July and Hani Al-Masri, a Ramallah-based political expert and Director General of the Palestinian Centre for Policy Research and Strategic Studies, says Abbas has “every reason to worry”.

Recently, a poll conducted by the Palestinian Centre for Policy and Survey Research found that out of 79 percent of Palestinians who are planning to take part in elections, 22 percent said they would be voting for Barghouti. Such well-known figures as Abbas…

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