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Barghouti announces run against Abbas

By Jordi Bou

May 22, 2021 - Jailed Fatah party activist Marwan Barghouti is to field his own list of candidates in a direct challenge to Fatah President Mahmoud Abbas in forthcoming elections to the Palestinian parliament.

Barghouti, 61, a former West Bank Fatah official and parliamentarian, serving life imprisonment in Israel after being convicted of orchestrating deadly attacks, has registered his own list called “Freedom”.

“Freedom” list is headed by Nasser Al-Qudwa – a nephew of the party’s late founder Yasser Arafat – and Barghouti’s wife Fadwa.

But Barghouti, 61, is not among the names – fuelling speculation that he may be preparing to run against Abbas – who is 85 and in poor health – in a presidential election in July.

Analysts believe their alliance could split Fatah’s vote, possibly acting as a spoiler that could benefit Hamas, the Islamist militant group that controls Gaza.

President Abbas announced earlier this year that Palestinians will head to the polls for the first elections in more than a decade. After May’s parliamentary elections, presidential elections are set for July.
This year’s vote would be the first parliamentary elections in 14 years and the first presidential ones in 15.

PUBLISHED: 01/04/2021; STORY: Graphic News; PICTURES: Getty Images