barghouti poster298 88ap.
(photo credit: AP)
Jailed Tanzim leader Marwan Barghouti called Thursday for the reunification of the ruling Fatah party, which split earlier this month in a dispute over its candidates for January 25 parliamentary elections.
Barghouti, who is serving five life terms in an Israeli prison, and a group of young politicians defected from Fatah earlier this month in anger over Palestinian leader Mahmoud Abbas' decision to ignore party primaries and fill Fatah's parliamentary slate with old cronies tainted by corruption.
But Fatah has grown concerned in recent days that the increasingly popular Hamas group would capitalize on the party rift and win the parliamentary election. Hamas won victories in several key towns during a round of Palestinian municipal elections last week.
Some Fatah leaders have called on Abbas to delay the vote to allow the party more time to prepare to take on Hamas. Abbas has so far resisted.
Leaders of Barghouti's Future faction have been in talks with Fatah to reunite the two party lists ahead of the vote.
In a statement from prison, Barghouti called on the Fatah officials "to unite and act immediately to create one united list for Fatah."
He also called on terror groups to allow the election to proceed peacefully and condemned outside efforts to interfere in the election. EU officials and the US House of Representatives have threatened to cut aid to the Palestinian Authority if Hamas, which calls for the destruction of Israel, were to win the election and be included in the Palestinian government.