Senior Fatah leaders Marwan Barghouti and Nasser Al-Qudwa have given Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas until 5 March to accept their electoral list, Lebanon's Al-Akbar reported on Monday. Abbas is also the head of the Palestine Liberation Organisation and the Fatah movement.
Barghouti has been in an Israeli prison since 2002, while Al-Qudwa is a cousin of the late Yasser Arafat. According to senior Fatah sources, they have proposed a list to Abbas that includes young people and active Fatah members who have been effectively neutralised by Abbas due to their resistance against the Israeli occupation.
The Lebanese newspaper reported the sources as saying that they ruled out that Abbas could cancel the elections or postpone them due to regional and international pressure if he fails to be ready to face Fatah's main rival, Hamas.
Meanwhile, the differences within Fatah are increasing. The Secretary of its Central Committee, Jibril Al-Rajoub failed last week to prevent the formation of different electoral lists for Fatah members and leaders.
Al-Akhbar said that Al-Rajoub had laid down a roadmap for the elections that meets that demands of Barghouti and Al-Qudwa, but falls far behind their vision in relation to fighting corruption and supporting Palestinian resistance against the occupation.
Senior Fatah official Qadura Fares has announced that he will not stand for election. Fares is the director of the Palestinian Prisoners' Club and said that he is not standing as a candidate because of the "numerous painful conditions for the democratic process that makes the factional agenda superior to national interests."
Moreover, another senior Fatah official, Nabil Amro, is apparently seeking to form his own list after rejecting the list proposed by the movement's Central Committee, which does not put him among the top names. Former PA Prime Minister Salam Fayyad, the sources said, is working to form his own list and could possibly act in partnership with Amro.