Photo: AFP
Abbas, won't run in upcoming elections
Photo: AFP

Abbas says will not seek reelection

PLO officials say Palestinian president 'insists on not running in upcoming election', while another source said Abbas will give speech later Thursday explaining decision

Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas said on Thursday he would not seek reelection in a January ballot, Palestinian officials said. An official from the PLO executive committee told Reuters: "The president insists on not running in the upcoming election."


Presidential spokesman Nabil Abu Rudeina confirmed that Abbas is seriously considering not submitting his candidacy due to the dead end reached in the peace process and the internal Palestinian reconciliation talks.


"Abu Mazen (Abbas) understands that the options he is faced with are limited and therefore all possibilites are open," Abu Rudeina said.


A Fatah Central Committee official also confirmed in a talk with Ynet that Abbas will announce in a speech Thursday evening that he does not plan to run for another term in office. The source said that Abbas will also announce that elections will be held on the set date.


Some bodies in the PA believe this is an attempt by Abbas and his aides to pressure the US administration into intervening in the peace process and forcing Israel to publicly announce an end to construction in settlements as a precondition for the renewal of negotiations.


The sources said that Abbas' move is meant to stress to the Americans that the Palestinians demand the government stand by its commitment to clarify to Israel that there can be no talks as long as construction in settlements continues.


Another Fatah source said that the movement plans to push forward with its preparations for elections working on the assumption that Abbas will be a candidate. However, the source expressed doubt that elections will even be held, in light of Hamas' announcement that it will not allow elections to take place in the Gaza Strip.


Aides close to jailed Fatah official Marwan Barghouti recently said that he was examining the possibility of submitting his candidacy for Palestinian presidential elections in the event that the current president decides not to run.


"Barghouti views himself as the natural candidate, and in fact the only candidate on which there is general consent within the movement and his men have begun examining the possibility," a Fatah source said.


Reuters contributed to this report


פרסום ראשון: 11.05.09, 15:40
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