Palestinian PM: Abbas is our presidential candidate

Last week, Abbas called for general elections for the first time since 2006.

Palestinian Authority President Mahmud Abbas  (photo credit: FLASH90)
Palestinian Authority President Mahmud Abbas
(photo credit: FLASH90)
The Palestinian ruling Fatah faction has nominated Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas as its candidate for president, PA Prime Minister Mohammad Shtayyeh announced on Wednesday.
The London-based Al-Araby TV channel quoted Shtayyeh as saying that there was “consensus” in Fatah that the 85-year-old Abbas will be its candidate in the upcoming election.
Abbas called for a general election last week for the first time since 2006, when Palestinians last voted for the parliament, the Palestinian Legislative Council.
Abbas announced that the parliamentary election would take place on May 22, while the presidential election would take place on July 31.
Abbas entered the 17th year of his four-year term in office on January 9. The last presidential election was held in January 2005, when Abbas, who also heads Fatah, was elected to succeed former PLO chairman Yasser Arafat.
Abbas’s decision to seek reelection is likely to spark an outcry among Fatah members in particular, and the Palestinian public in general.
“If Abbas is going to run again, I don’t think there’s a need for new elections because we know what the result is going to be,” said a Fatah official in Ramallah. “We were hoping that President Abbas would pave the way for new and young leaders to rise to power.”
Abbas has not said whether he intends to seek reelection, and so far no other candidates have announced their intention to run for the PA presidency.
Shtayyeh said in the interview that the Palestinians expect the new administration of US President Joe Biden to reverse decisions taken by his predecessor, Donald Trump.
PA officials said earlier this week that they have demanded that the Biden administration reopen the PLO diplomatic mission in Washington, and resume US financial aid to the PA and the United Nations Relief and Work Agency for Palestine Refugees (UNRWA).
The Palestinians have also demanded that the new US administration reopen the US consulate in east Jerusalem, which was closed by the Trump administration.
“We have a vision for dealing with the new US administration, but we don’t expect it to become our ally,” Shtayyeh said. He also denounced the normalization agreements between Israel and a number of Arab countries, saying they were “harmful” to the Palestinians and “in violation of Arab consensus.”