Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas Tuesday chaired a meeting of the
Fatah central committee in Ramallah amid reports that Prime Minister Salam
Fayyad is planning to run in the next presidential election.
close to Fayyad were quoted as saying that the prime minister would present his
candidacy for PA president only if Abbas decides not to run for another
Abbas: PA ready to present positions on final status issues
Fayyad: Unity, non-violence necessary for statehood
The sources told the London-based Al-Quds Al-Arabi newspaper that
Fayyad believes that his chances of being elected are very high in light of his
accomplishments and the respect he enjoys in the local and international
Fayyad, who heads the independent Third Way list, won only two
seats in the parliamentary election that was held in the Palestinian territories
The sources added that Fayyad would not make a final decision to
run for the presidency until Fatah, the largest faction of the PLO, elects its
Abbas has repeatedly stated in recent years that he does
not intend to run for another term in the next elections, which are slated for
If Fayyad decides in the end to run in the election as an
independent candidate, that would be at the expense of a Fatah candidate, since
Hamas supporters are unlikely to cast their ballots for him.
official reason for Tuesday’s Fatah gathering in Ramallah was to discuss the
current stalemate in the peace process with Israel, a Fatah official said that
some of his colleagues also sought clarifications from Abbas about his agreement
with Hamas to hold new elections.
At the meeting, Abbas this time did not
say whether he would seek another term in office.
Jamal Muhaissen, member
of the Fatah central committee, said that he and his colleagues were trying to
persuade Abbas to run in the next presidential election.
that President Abbas be its presidential candidate,” Muhaissen said, adding that
he was unaware of other potential candidates from Fatah.
said that some of the names being touted as potential candidates include top
Fatah officials Nabil Sha’ath, Saeb Erekat, Azzam al- Ahmed, Mahmoud al-Aloul
and Mohammed Shtayyeh.
According to the activists, the five leading
candidates will seek the backing of Fatah only when Abbas formally announces
that he won’t seek re-election.
One of the potential candidates, Ahmed,
met Tuesday with US Consul-General Daniel Rubinstein and discussed with him
Fatah’s preparations for the next elections.
Fatah officials voiced
optimism in the past few days about the prospects of their faction winning the
They claimed that many Palestinians have become disillusioned with
Hamas after five years of the movement’s rule in the Gaza Strip and its failure
to improve the living conditions of Palestinians living there.