Marwan Barghouti instead of Mahmoud Abbas? The associates of the senior Fatah leader jailed in Israel are examining the possibility that he will announce his candidacy for president should elections be held as planned and should the current president surprisingly decide not to run again for the post.
Recently, following the dead end reached in the peace talks, officials close to Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas reported that the Abbas is exhausted. However, Abbas has not threatened to resign, though his associates say that the option cannot be ruled out that he will not run in the upcoming presidential elections.
"True the president is exhausted; true he is not satisfied with the situation; and true he prefers not to contend, but, as of now, and I say this with confirmed information, the president will be the Fatah candidate in the elections. The question is whether the elections will be held," said a senior Fatah source to Ynet.
Following doubts surrounding Abbas' political future, the source said that Marwan Barghouti's camp has started looking into the option that he will run for Palestinian Authority president. The source said that Barghouti passed a message on to his associates saying that he will announce his candidacy if there are any developments with Abbas.
The source said that though the chance that Abbas won't run "does not actually exist, Barghouti sees himself as the natural candidate, and really the only candidate, for whom there is broad consensus within the movement. His associates have started examining the possibility."
According to him, this position is bolstered by reports recently received by Barghouti and his associates from Hamas claiming that Barghouti will be included in a prisoner swap deal with Israel. "We understood from people close to Barghouti that he believes his chances of being released in a deal are more than 90%."