Associates of Marwan Barghouti say that the Palestinian security prisoner — currently serving five life sentences for planning terror attacks that murdered Israelis — is considering a run in the scheduled Palestinian presidential elections.
“Our comrade, Marwan, is considering the possibility, but he has not yet made a decision either way,” former Palestinian Authority legislator Qaddura Fares tells The Times of Israel in a phone call.
Palestinians are scheduled to head to legislative elections on May 22 followed by presidential elections on July 31. Many observers have expressed skepticism that the vote will be held, however, as the Palestinians have not headed to national elections since 2006, despite numerous promises by their leadership.
Barghouti is hugely popular among Palestinians and is widely seen as a possible successor to current PA President Mahmoud Abbas. He was convicted and sentenced by an Israeli court in 2004 for directing two shootings and a bombing that killed five Israelis.
According to the Kan public broadcaster, senior Palestinian Authority official Hussein al-Sheikh visited Barghouti earlier today in Hadarim prison in an attempt to convince him not to run in the election.
Al-Sheikh’s office has issued a statement confirming the visit, although a spokesperson could not be reached for further comment.
“There is a need to rise above wounds, factional interests and selfishness, and to create a single unified list for the Fatah movement, without exclusion or marginalization,” Barghouti says, according to the statement from al-Sheikh’s office.