Abbas won't seek re-election, officials claim

Palestinian president Mahmoud Abbas will not be seeking another term in office, PA officials said.

Abbas won't seek re-election, officials claim

Palestinian president Mahmoud Abbas will not be seeking another term in office, PA officials said on Thursday.

Abbas, who was elected in January 2005 in the first presidential election following the death of his predecessor, Yasser Arafat, would retire and devote more time to his family, the officials told The Jerusalem Post.

They also said that 73-year-old Abbas, who has devoted more than half of his life to the Palestinian cause, believes that he and other veterans in the PLO should step aside and allow younger leaders to emerge.

Abbas, according to some of his aides, is planning to call early elections within the next six months.

"I doubt if the president will run for another term," said one aide. "He has hinted more than once that he is tired and wants to relax."

Abbas's status within his own Fatah faction suffered a severe blow following Hamas's takeover of the Gaza Strip last June.

Abbas travelled to Jordan 10 days ago, where he met an old colleague, Ahmed Ghnaim, and reportedly sought to persuade him to move from Tunisia to Ramallah.

Ghnaim, better known by his nom de guerre Abu Maher, is one of the few veteran PLO leaders who refused to move to the Palestinian territories after the signing of the Oslo Accords. At the meeting, Abbas reportedly told the 70-year-old Ghnaim that he sees him as his natural successor as chairman of the PA.

But according to the Post, Ghnaim remains staunchly opposed to the Oslo Accords and is said to have turned down the offer.

Reports that Abbas is not planning to contest the next vote have escalated political posturing.

The return of top Fatah activist Muhammed Dahlan to Ramallah this week after six weeks of medical treatment in Germany triggered a wave of rumors as to his future plans. Dahlan's aides said he was planning to resume his activities as member of Fatah's two key decision-making bodies: the central council and the revolutionary council.

They also said that Dahlan did not rule out the possibility of presenting his candidacy in the next presidential elections.

A number of Fatah officials have publicly accused Dahlan of destroying the faction by trying to bring down the Hamas government in the Gaza Strip with the help of the US and Israel.

According to the Post, two other personalities who are also likely to contest the vote are Saeb Erekat, the chief Palestinian negotiator, and Farouk Kaddoumi, the estranged Fatah leader who has long regarded himself as the most suitable person to lead the Palestinians.

AKI

Last Mod: 24 Ağustos 2007, 14:05
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