Ahmad Qurie, the former Palestinian Prime Minister, and several other members of the Fateh Old Guard have decided not to run for parliament and withdrew their names from Fateh candidates list.
Palestinian official speaking on condition of anonymity said that they conceded that Qurie would likely be unable to win a seat in East Jerusalem district. Yet, Qurie will seek to be appointed as a minister in the coming government.
Rawhi Fattouh, chairman of the Palestinian Legislative Council also withdrew his name from the Fateh primary list.
Meanwhile, Palestinian President, Mahmoud Abbas agreed to grant the top slots of Fateh list to the young activists of the movement who achieved high results in Fateh primaries last week.
Apparently, Fateh veterans, who will now have to compete in district voting where re-election is not guaranteed, were not pleased with the decision of Abbas, the source added.
The younger guard of Fateh presented earlier a separate list of candidates under the name “Future”.
Qurie resigned two weeks ago from his position as a Prime Minister, in order to be able to participate in the legislative elections; the Palestinian law does not allow parliamentary candidates to hold official state positions.
The preparations for the elections have faced several obstacles which were clearly present in the split inside Fateh movement, the Israeli military activities, and the Israeli decision to ban residents of East Jerusalem to participate in the election process.
Arab member of Knesset Ahmed Tibi (Hadash party) said on Friday that Israel’s decision not to allow Palestinian parliamentary elections in East Jerusalem hurts the position of the Palestinian president.
Tibi added that the Israeli government has been harming Abbas lately, and damaging the chances of his movement to win the elections.
On Thursday, Hamas along with 10 other factions told Abbas that he must avoid any delay in the elections which are slated for January 25, 2006.
The factions said that regardless of the Israeli position to bar elections in Jerusalem, the voting should be conducting without any delay.
Abbas hinted last week that the Palestinian Authority might have to reexamine the elections date after Israeli declared its position.
Hamas media spokesperson, Mosheer Al Masry, said that delaying the elections will lead to internal conflicts and would end any Palestinian internal dialogue.
A Palestinian political analyst said that one suggestion to the issue is brought about by appointing the six candidates of Jerusalem district. The total number of parliament seats is 132.
Meanwhile, Palestinian Information Minister Nabil Shaath said the PA would not agree to elections without Jerusalem.
In Gaza, dozens of gunmen of Al Aqsa Martyrs Brigades, the military wing of Fateh movement, held a press conference on Friday evening and urged the factions to support the delay of parliamentary elections if voting was barred in Jerusalem.
Recent poll showed Hamas winning about 30% of the legislative council seats, yet the movement did better in the municipal elections held in several West Bank cities last week.
Qurie and Fattouh to quit Fattah election list
Manar Jibrin-IMEMC & Agencies, 20:32
In a letter to the Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas, Prime Minister Ahmad Qurie and head of the Palestinian Legislative council Rawhi Fattouh announced, on Friday, that they are quitting the Fateh reunified list for the parliamentary elections, the Maan News Agency reported.
Sources close to the Fateh Central Committee said that this move came in protest to the committee’s decision to exclude previous legislative council members, members of the Fateh Revolutionary Council, and current ministers, from movements’ proportional.
They were instead added to the proportional list to compete in the electoral departments.
Observers believe that such a move would cause a new rift inside the movement, especially after the movement and the young generation managed to agree on a unified list on Thursday.
Sources close to Fateh predict that other members of the legislative and revolutionary councils, and the movement’s central committee, in addition to some Fateh ministers would follow Qurie and Fattouh.
Meanwhile, Mohammad Al Madani, member of Fateh revolutionary council affirmed that both Qurie and Fattouh sent a letter to the Palestinian President, Mahmoud Abbas, asking him to cancel their names from the list without mentioning any reasons behind their request.
Dr. Jamal Mheisin, member of the revolutionary council, said that he officially asked the central committee to cancel his candidacy, adding that he does not intend to run for the elections.
Mheisin added that he decided to compete in the elections after the committee asked him to do so.
Several meetings are planned to be held on Friday at night an attempt to arrive to a final list of candidates who will represent Fateh movement on both the proportional and the electoral list.