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PA Chairman Mahmoud Abbas Photo: Reuters
PA Chairman Mahmoud Abbas Photo: Reuters
 
Marwan Barghouti Photo: AFP
Marwan Barghouti Photo: AFP
 
Palestinian PM Ahmed Qureia Photo: Reuters
Palestinian PM Ahmed Qureia Photo: Reuters
 
 

'Abbas wants to delay elections'

Fatah's veteran generation, younger members quarrel over parliamentary list; Fatah sources say Abbas caught in difficult situation, looking for excuse to delay election; alternative option: Barghouti, who won primary elections, to head separate list

Ali Waked
Published: 12.14.05, 00:28 / Israel News

Chaos surrounding Fatah's parliamentary list continues: Senior officials in the Fatah movement defined Tuesday evening what was happening between the movement's different camps as an "overall war."

 

It seems that the parties are still far from reaching a compromise or a solution that will enable them to peacefully prepare for January elections.

 

The announcement of the parliamentary list composition, which was scheduled for Tuesday, has been delayed to Wednesday, but this date is also uncertain.

 

Meanwhile, speculations have been made regarding the day after the announcement.

 

Sources have raised the possibility that Marwan Barghouti, who won the primary elections, will establish a new independent movement comprised of members of Fatah's young generation.

 

Another option, which seems more realistic, is that Palestinian Authority Chairman Mahmoud Abbas will delay the elections, after realizing
the complexity of the movement's current situation.

 

According to Fatah sources, Abbas is inclined to form a list which will include a considerable representation of veteran and senior members, headed by Palestinian Prime Minister Ahmed Qureia, while leaders of the younger generation would be pushed into lower spots, despite their victory in recent primaries.

 

According to some reports, a number of candidates who have won the internal elections may even find themselves outside the list.

 

Pressure from both sides

 

At present, Abbas is being pressured from both sides - the younger generation, most of who support Barghouti, and the central committee members, most of whom are veteran Fatah members, headed by Qureia and former Interior Minister Hanni al-Hassan.

 

It is estimated that Abbas will eventually establish a list with veteran members and strong candidates, such as Jibril Rajoub.

 

Deliberations within the Fatah movement have been going on over the past several hours, following increased incitement in the territories, especially by al-Aqsa Martyrs Brigades activists who caused a number of central elections' committee branches to close Tuesday, in protest to the anticipated parliamentary list.

 

The younger leadership fears, among other issues, that the movement will not present a strong and attractive team to compete against Hamas in the elections.

 

Election postponement or division of Fatah

 

While an announcement on Abbas' elections list has been postponed, a senior Fatah official told Ynet the PA chairman understands his complicated situation and so has decided to delay elections.

  

According to the official, Abbas is waiting for a convenient time to announce the postponement, in a bid to emerge from the crisis his movement has been facing.

 

Even if Abbas announces the postponement, the official said, the disputes within Fatah are expected to continue.

 

One scenario likely to occur after Abbas presents the movement's parliamentary list is a division within Fatah, with several younger leaders such as Barghouti announcing his independent candidacy opposite Fatah.

 

An additional source reinforced this possibility, saying that Abbas has already told his close associates he would not object to Barghouti and his supporters leaving Fatah to form an independent list.

 

He added that Abbas' associates have even said the PA chairman would indirectly support an alternative list to Fatah should he believe his chances at winning elections are good. 

 

Another idea raised by Abbas, according to the same source, is that Barghouti would head Fatah's list, but those next in line would all be veteran members of the movement.

 

Such a proposal does not actually solve the disagreements within the movement, as the veterans lack of popularity in the eyes of the public would remain, while Barghouti himself is not enthusiastic about them.

 

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