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Barghouthi Hints at Quitting Palestinian Race

Wednesday, December 08, 2004

Jailed grassroots Palestinian presidential candidate, Marwan Barghouthi may be considering stepping down from the presidential race. Barghouthi confided to Talab El Sana, an Isreali-Arab lawmaker, that he feared his candidacy was causing turmoil, even a possible split, within Fatah. He has stated that he will quit the race if a list of his demands are met.

Barghouthi has been doing well in the polls

This news comes as Barghouthi has been doing well in the polls. A recent poll by the Palestinian Center for Policy and Survey Research showed that Abbas, widely seen as the international favorite, would receive only 40 percent of the vote. Barghouthi was coming in at a close second of 38 percent. The poll surveyed 1,320 Palestinians in the West Bank and Gaza. Barghouthi was seen as the most likely candidate to obtain a right of return for Palestinian refugees.

Barghouthi is currently serving five life sentences in Israeli prison.

A Senior Fatah official close to Barghouthi said that the first demand is the assurance from Abbas that he would insist on East Jerusalem as the future capital of a Palestinian state. He also asked Abbas for a just resolution of the refuge problem and a halt to Israel’s “assassination” of militants. Barghouthi also wants Abbas’s platform to include calls for the pullback of Israeli forces from the West Bank before the election.

Barghouthi called on Abbas to arrange the release of Palestinian prisoners held by Israel. This comes as no surprise as Barghouthi is currently serving five life sentences in Israeli prison. In addition, he would like 3 cartons of cigarettes, a DVD player, and to be moved to a better cell. Barghouthi has apparently been anxiously awaiting the seventh season of Buffy, the Vampire Slayer.

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