After securing himself a new job as the prime minister of a Palestinian unity
government, Mahmoud Abbas has also won the backing of Fatah for running in the
next presidential election.
Following a three-day meeting in Ramallah,
the Fatah revolutionary council, a key decision-making body, on Friday nominated
Abbas as its candidate for the presidential election.
The council said
the decision to nominate the 76-year-old Abbas was made
Abbas has yet to respond to the decision. He has said that
he does not plan to seek re-election.
In 2009, Abbas told the PLO
executive committee and the Fatah revolutionary council that he would not seek
to run for another term if and when new elections are held.
said at the time that his decision not to run for another term in office was
taken because he was frustrated with efforts to revive the peace
However, in recent months, Abbas, whose term in office expired
in January 2009, has come under pressure from Fatah leaders and some Arab
countries to run for another term.
Fatah fears that Abbas’s failure to
seek re-election would trigger a power struggle within the faction. Some Fatah
officials have privately criticized Abbas and the old guard in the faction for
failing to pave the way for the emergence of new leadership.
not attend the revolutionary council meeting in Ramallah and it was not clear
whether the decision to nominate him was binding.
Some Fatah officials
expressed hope that Abbas would heed the decision, while others said they did
not expect him to succumb to the pressure to seek re-election.
loyalists pointed out that public opinion polls published in the West Bank and
Gaza Strip in the past few months have shown that Fatah’s chances of winning the
next election would be higher if Abbas headed the faction.
the secretary-general of the revolutionary council, said over the weekend that
the decision to nominate Abbas was binding. He voiced hope that Abbas would
agree to the nomination.
However, he added that in the end, this was a
personal matter and that Abbas alone would decide whether or not to
Abbas, meanwhile, told the Italian consul-general during a meeting
in Ramallah on Saturday that a Palestinian unity government would abide by the
PLO’s political program as well as all agreements signed with
Abbas said that the Hamas-Fatah reconciliation was in the
interest of the Palestinian people and should be implemented without
Hamas and Fatah representatives are scheduled to meet in Cairo
later this week to discuss the formation of a unity government, PLO executive
member Wasel Abu Yusef said Saturday.
He said the talks would focus on
the names of the members of the unity government, which would be headed by