From the Open-Publishing Calendar
From the Open-Publishing Newswire
Indybay Feature
Related Categories: Palestine | International
Barghouti opts out of election
by BBC (reposted)
Friday Nov 26th, 2004 12:00 PM
Jailed Palestinian leader Marwan Barghouti will not run in the Palestinian presidential election, an official says.

Instead, Mr Barghouti has lent his support to Mahmoud Abbas - candidate of the ruling Fatah party.

The jailed firebrand was said to be considering challenging Mr Abbas in January's presidency elections.

But Palestinian cabinet minister Kadura Fares said Mr Barghouti pulled out to avoid a split in Fatah.

Mr Barghouti "is calling upon the sons of the movement and his supporters to support the movement's nominee Mahmoud Abbas," Mr Fares said Friday after visiting Mr Barghouti earlier in his Israeli prison cell.

The announcement comes amid efforts to fend off a split in the Fatah political movement over who succeeds veteran leader Yasser Arafat, who died earlier this month.

However, it is likely that Barghouti will run in Fatah's internal elections on August 4 - its first for 16 years.

The elections date was announced after the prison meeting.

Split risk

The Fatah election, which will produce new members for the party's central institutions, is being seen as an attempt to placate rival factions.

The BBC's Alan Johnston in Jerusalem earlier said a contest might well split Fatah between younger Palestinians, who back the more charismatic Mr Barghouti, and the older guard, who support Mr Abbas.

Mr Abbas - a former Palestinian prime minister - was nominated as Fatah's candidate for the presidential elections in January.

Charismatic and determined

Mr Abbas, also known as Abu Mazen, has already replaced Mr Arafat as Palestine Liberation Organisation (PLO) chairman and is now favourite to succeed him as president.

Barghouti, currently serving five life sentences on terrorism charges in an Israeli prison, would have had to run as an independent.

But it is believed that he is the most popular Palestinian leader. He is seen by many as a hero and a major figure in the fight against Israeli occupation, our correspondent says.

He has been described as charismatic and determined, and was often thought of as a natural successor to Arafat, our correspondent adds.

'Grey figure'

The nomination of Mr Abbas came at a Fatah Revolutionary Council meeting in the West Bank city of Ramallah on Thursday night.

Palestinian official Tayeb Abdel said Mr Abbas was now "the only candidate of the Fatah movement", the Associated Press news agency reported.

Our correspondent describes Mr Abbas as very much the kind of man that Israel and the West would like to see emerge as the new leader.

Mr Abbas is a moderate who has opposed the armed struggle against Israel, but he is a rather grey figure who lacks a popular following, our correspondent says.

RAMALLAH, West Bank (Reuters) - Jailed Palestinian leader Marwan Barghouthi has decided not to run in Palestinian presidential elections, says an official, following pressure from the ruling Fatah faction to support Mahmoud Abbas.


RAMALLAH, West Bank (AFP) - Jailed West Bank militant leader Marwan Barghuti announced he not would run in next year's Palestinian leadership election, heading off a potentially damaging rift in the dominant Fatah faction.

In a statement read for him by Palestinian minister without portfolio Qaddura Fares in the West Bank town of Ramallah, Barghuti called instead for Palestinians to support Fatah's official candidate, Palestine Liberation Organization (PLO) chief Mahmud Abbas, in the January 9 election.

by ALJ
Friday Nov 26th, 2004 1:30 PM
West Bank Fatah leader Marwan Barghuthi has announced that he will not run in upcoming Palestinian elections.

In a speech read on his behalf, the jailed leader said on Friday that he would instead be throwing his support behind former prime minister Mahmud Abbas.

Al-Barghuthi had earlier come under pressure from Fatah to drop potentially divisive plans to run for Palestinian president from his Israeli jail cell.

Palestinian cabinet minister Qaddura Faris, a member of Fatah, visited al-Barghuthi in prison on Friday to try to dissuade him from challenging its presidential nominee, Abbas.

Faris told a news conference that Barghuthi appreciated Abbas' gestures, including a promise to hold long-overdue elections in Fatah next year, and would support his candidacy.

"After a meeting of four hours, during which we debated this issue, Marwan Barghuthi sends this message to the Palestinian people and its fighters ... He calls on the members of the movement to support the movement's candidate, Mahmud Abbas," Faris said.

Important voice

Al-Barghuthi was the main voice of a revolt for an independent Palestinian state after peace negotiations collapsed in 2000 and has long been seen as a potential successor to Arafat.

Palestinian political analysts predicted he would have stood a strong chance of winning the ballot, drawing support from mainstream voters as well as from those who oppose Abbas's call to end the uprising.

Passionate and articulate, al-Barghuthi advocated peace with Israel, making his case for an end to occupation in the West Bank and Gaza in fluent Hebrew.