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Dahlan complicates Abbas’ plans for Palestinian elections

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Jan 23, 2021

RAMALLAH, West Bank — As quickly as Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas issued Jan. 15 the presidential decree setting the date for the final elections a conflict erupted between Fatah and the motion led by dismissed Fatah chief Mohammed Dahlan.

A day after the presidential decree was issued, Sufian Abu Zaida, a frontrunner in Dahlan’s Democratic Reformist Current, expressed his present’s intent to take part, alongside the Fatah motion, within the elections with a unified record.

In a Facebook put up Jan. 16, Abu Zaida mentioned that ought to a unified record for the Fatah motion show inconceivable, the Democratic Reformist Current will run within the legislative elections with an unbiased record of leaders and cadres of the present, including that candidacy shall be open for nationwide social figures.

Abu Zaida’s name was rejected by the Fatah motion, which reiterated its dedication to the selections of its management, referring to the motion’s choice to dismiss from its ranks members of the Democratic Reformist Current.

Majed al-Fityani, secretary of Fatah’s Revolutionary Council, instructed Al-Monitor that the choice to take part within the elections shall be authorized by the motion’s management within the coming days. “An agreement will be reached to shape the alliances that the movement may form to run in the elections,” Fityani mentioned. “The so-called Democratic Reformist Current has nothing to do with the Fatah movement. Its members decided to be outside the Fatah framework. They are the cause of all the internal ills in Fatah, which is not bound by any talks or dialogue with anyone outside the movement in any way.”

Regarding the Democratic Reformist Current’s intention to run in elections with an unbiased record, Fityani mentioned, “These are independent Palestinian elections. No one can take away the democratic right of a party that is subject to the law to run for office. But the [elections] law prohibits anyone charged with offense or misdemeanor or slapped with a sentence to be a candidate in elections.”

Dahlan, who has been in exile within the United Arab Emirates (UAE) since 2011, was investigated by the Palestinian Authority (PA) and charged for a number of offenses, together with alleged corruption. In 2016, he was convicted in absentia for embezzling $16 million and sentenced to 3 years in jail. 

Fatah believes it might probably block the best way for Dahlan and a few of his present’s leaders by stopping them from working in both the presidential or legislative elections, based mostly on the Palestinian Elections Law of 2007, and the amendments thereto in accordance with the decree regulation issued by Abbas on Jan. 11. 

Article 39 (5) of the regulation was amended to stipulate {that a} candidate for the presidency should connect to the candidacy utility a non-conviction certificates from the courtroom. Thus Dahlan, who faces expenses, can not run within the elections. 

Article 68 of the regulation prohibits any electoral record or candidate who participates within the elections from acquiring funds for the election marketing campaign from any international or exterior supply aside from Palestinian sources, instantly or not directly. This constitutes one other roadblock to the Democratic Reformist Current that enjoys nice monetary assist from the UAE.

Abdel Hamid al-Masri, a frontrunner within the Democratic Reformist Current, confirmed his motion’s intention to run within the legislative and presidential elections and the National Council elections. 

On the judicial choice towards Dahlan which will hinder his candidacy, Masri instructed Al-Monitor, “For us, Dahlan is not convicted in any case and we would yield to any ruling issued by a fair justice and an independent judiciary. But if the law is politicized, we will reach out to all parties that sponsor the elections to solve this issue.”

Dahlan’s present is relying on the elections to return to the Palestinian political area, particularly for the reason that present’s leaders have both been dismissed from the Fatah motion, or misplaced their immunity or political place after the dissolution of the Palestinian Legislative Council. If these leaders are prevented from collaborating within the elections in keeping with the regulation, the motion will faucet into its sturdy relations with some Arab international locations, similar to Egypt, Jordan and the UAE, to exert stress on Abbas to beat the dispute with Dahlan and permit his present to run within the elections below a unified record with Fatah.

On Jan. 17, head of Egyptian intelligence Abbas Kamel and his Jordanian counterpart, Ahmed Hosni, paid a shock go to to Ramallah, the place they met with Abbas. The assembly was additionally attended by Palestinian intelligence chief Majid Faraj.

Israel’s public channel Kan 11 reported Jan. 19 that throughout the assembly Jordan and Egypt referred to as on Abbas to unify Fatah’s ranks earlier than the legislative elections and to run within the elections with a unified and undivided record to confront Hamas. The media outlet mentioned Jordan and Egypt didn’t instantly demand to incorporate Dahlan on the record of the Fatah motion.

Masri mentioned that failing to unify Fatah’s ranks and working the elections with a number of lists will weaken the motion towards Hamas and scale back its possibilities of profitable. “We called for a unified Fatah electoral list to keep it from losing to Hamas,” he added.

Asked about whether or not there was a choice within the Democratic Reformist Current to appoint Dahlan for the place of president, Masri famous, “There is no decision yet to do so. The movement will make its decision democratically within its framework and institutions.” However, he didn’t rule out the potential for the motion supporting a nationwide determine outdoors the motion.

The Democratic Reformist Current poses a brand new problem to Fatah, along with the problem already posed by Hamas, which raises many eventualities for the connection between each Fatah and Dahlan’s present.

Writer and political analyst Jihad Harb instructed Al-Monitor, “The first scenario is the emergence of two electoral lists and perhaps more, within the Fatah movement. The other scenario is to accelerate the reconciliation within the Fatah movement through the mediation of the Egyptian and Jordanian security services, which could pave the way for Fatah to run in the elections with one list.”

Harb defined, “Dahlan will not be able to run in the presidential and legislative elections because of a court ruling against him. But his movement may support a candidate for the presidential elections other than Fatah’s official candidate. The movement may run in the legislative elections with a list of figures against whom no judicial decision has been issued in the Palestinian courts.”

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