Archterrorist Barghouti to challenge Abbas in PA election

Senior Fatah leader Marwan Barghouti, who is serving five life sentences in Israel, to submit independent list for upcoming PA parliamentary election.

Elad Benari ,

Image of Marwan Barghouti painted on barrier near Qalandiya
Image of Marwan Barghouti painted on barrier near Qalandiya
Haytham Shtayeh/Flash 90

Senior Fatah leader Marwan Barghouti, who is serving five life sentences in Israel due to involvement in terrorist attacks, is set to submit an independent list for the upcoming PA parliamentary election, Haaretz reported on Tuesday.

Barghouti's election run, could jeopardize PA chairman Mahmoud Abbas' standing. Sources close to Barghouti added that this independent list could be a prelude to a presidential bid as well.

Sources in Fatah said the new list will include more Fatah activists who wish to break away from the party's line, as well as other independent candidates.

The deadline to submit lists to the Palestinian Central Elections Committee is Wednesday, noted Haaretz.

Senior Fatah officials told Haaretz that they "won't be surprised" if Barghouti drops his independent run before the deadline, adding that Fatah offer him some form of representation in its list.

Barghouti is serving several life sentences in Israel for his role in planning terrorist attacks against Israelis.

He is widely believed to have planned the Second Intifada, which claimed thousands of Israeli lives from 2000 to 2005. Barghouti has continued inciting to terrorism from his jail cell.

Fatah has sought to persuade Barghouti not to run, while rival factions have attempted to lure the popular prisoner onto their slate, according to Haaretz.

Hussein al-Sheikh, a PA cabinet minister who acts as a liaison with Israel, met with Barghouti in February, in a move that was unusually approved by the Israeli Prison Services.

Abbas recently issued a decree ordering general elections in PA-assigned territories.

The decree states that legislative elections will take place on May 22. A “presidential” election will take place on July 31. It sets a deadline of August 31 for establishing the Palestinian National Council.

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

No PA elections have taken place since 2006 and similar initiatives in the past have failed to result in elections.



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