Poll shows PA scandals are weakening Abbas, Fayyad

Sixty-nine percent of those surveyed believe Shabaneh’s allegations to be accurate.

Mahmoud abbas 311 187 (photo credit: AP)
Mahmoud abbas 311 187
(photo credit: AP)
An overwhelming majority of Palestinians believes that reports about financial corruption and sex scandals within the Palestinian Authority are accurate and that the corruption charges weaken the legitimacy of President Mahmoud Abbas and Prime Minister Salam Fayyad’s government, according to a poll published on Monday.
The poll, conducted by the Palestinian Center for Policy and Survey Research earlier this month, also found that Abbas’s popularity has dropped somewhat in the past four months, while Hamas’s prime minister, Ismail Haniyeh, has grown more popular.
According to the poll, a majority of Palestinians support holding local elections and will participate in them in the West Bank, even if Hamas boycotts them.
The PA has decided to hold municipal elections in July.
The poll, which covered some 1,270 Palestinians who were interviewed face to face in 127 randomly selected locations in the West Bank and Gaza Strip, has a 3% margin of error.
The poll showed a limited setback for Abbas and Fayyad and a limited improvement in the standing of Haniyeh and Hamas.
The pollsters attributed the decline in support for the PA to recent allegations made by former PA intelligence official Fahmi Shabaneh, who exposed a series of financial and sex scandals.
About 72% of those interviewed said they had heard about reports of scandals and charges of corruption in the PA or saw the videotape in which Abbas’s top aide, Rafik Husseini, appears naked in the bedroom of a Palestinian woman who had sought his help.
Sixty-nine percent said they believed the allegations to be accurate, while only 24% didn’t.
In this regard, 50% of those polled said they did not have confidence in the investigation committee established by the PA president to examine the allegations.
Abbas’s popularity, meanwhile, has dropped from 54% in December 2009 to 50% in the beginning of this year, the poll showed.
In contrast, the popularity of Hamas’s Haniyeh has risen from 38% to 40% during the same period.
But if the presidential election would pit top Fatah operative MarwanBarghouti against Haniyeh, the former would receive 63%, while thelatter would get only 32%, the poll showed.