Mohammed Dahlan, the longtime rival of Palestinian Authority (PA) chairman Mahmoud Abbas, on Wednesday branded Abbas a failed leader.
Speaking to Saudi Arabia's Al-Arabiya channel and quoted by AFP, Dahlan did not announce his candidacy to replace Abbas but voiced his commitment towards the "governing of the Palestinian people".
"Under Abbas's reign, divisions grew stronger and living conditions became deplorable," Dahlan charged in the interview.
Abbas "failed to do what he promised", Dahlan said.
"All (Abbas) cares about is staying in power, tormenting his opponents and silencing those with opposing views," he continued.
He cited the decision by Fatah, Abbas' movement that controls the Palestinian Authority, to expel former PA chairman Yasser Arafat's nephew Nasser al-Kidwa, after he announced plans to challenge Abbas in the upcoming vote.
A former security chief in Gaza for Fatah, Dahlan was ousted from the party in 2011 and fled to Dubai. His home in Ramallah was later raided by PA security forces.
Abbas has accused Dahlan of, among other things, collaborating with Israel to eliminate a senior Hamas terrorist in 2002.
Dahlan was sentenced in absentia in 2016 to three years in prison for allegedly embezzling $16 million while serving as a cabinet minister.
He remains in the UAE, where he is advising the ruling family on Palestinian Arab affairs. Most recently, he arranged two deliveries of COVID-19 vaccines to Gaza donated by the UAE.
In Wednesday’s interview, Dahlan said his goal is to respond to the desires of the Palestinian people for change.
"Nobody will stop me, even if it is someone important," he told Al-Arabiya, adding, "I don't mind being controversial. What matters to me is work, success and the governing of the Palestinian people."