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Majority of Palestinians support Marwan Barghouthi for president
Published Thursday 22/05/2014 (updated) 24/05/2014 18:07
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BETHLEHEM (Ma'an) -- A majority of Palestinians in the occupied territories favor jailed activist Marwan Barghouthi as a candidate in upcoming presidential elections, a public opinion survey released on Thursday said.

The poll also revealed that 80 percent of Palestinians thought elections would "certainly" or "likely" be held within six months of the expected formation of the unity government next week, and almost 40 percent of respondents said they planned to vote for Fatah.

The results come after a 10-day survey conducted by the Palestinian Center for Public Opinion polled just over 1,000 Palestinians in the West Bank, East Jerusalem, and the Gaza Strip.

The survey, which is one of the first to be conducted in the occupied Palestinian territories since the signing of a national reconciliation agreement between the two main Palestinian political parties, Fatah and Hamas, at the end of April, highlights a growing sense of optimism that the deal will hold.

It also reveals growing dissatisfaction with political leaders who have been charge since the last round of elections in 2006, and an interest in giving one of the most prominent Palestinian prisoners in Israeli jails a chance at ruling.

President of the Palestinian Center for Public Opinion Nabil Kukail stressed that the survey showed that the "overwhelming majority of the Palestinian public" believes Marwan Barghouthi to be a favorite in upcoming elections.

"It is time that Mr. Barghouthi be released from prison to give him the opportunity to (run as a) candidate for the next presidential elections," Kukail said in a statement.

Barghouthi was a leader in the First and Second Intifadas and has become a symbol of the Palestinian national cause. He is sometimes referred to as the "Palestinian Mandela" for his role as a uniting figure in the movement.

The survey polled respondents on a number of potential pair-ups for the presidential elections, including between current president Mahmoud Abbas and Gaza prime minister Ismail Haniyeh, Marwan Barghouthi and Ismail Haniyeh, Abbas and Barghouthi, as well as Hamas leader Khaled Meshaal and Barghouthi.

In all of the pair-ups where Barghouthi was present, respondents favored him to other candidates.

The survey also revealed a dramatic fall in popularity for the Islamist party Hamas, which has controlled the Gaza Strip since it kicked Fatah out after it accused the group of a US-supported coup attempt in 2006.

When respondents were polled on who they expected to win if elections for the Palestinian Legislative Council were held now, 39 percent said Fatah, 16 percent said Hamas, 12 percent said other parties, 11 percent said independents, and the rest said that they would either not participate or had not yet decided.

Survey respondents were from across the occupied Palestinian territories, including around two-thirds in the West Bank and one-third in the Gaza Strip, and participation was split almost evenly between female and male respondents.

The survey did not, however, take into account the more than nine million Palestinians living as refugees, in the diaspora, or inside Israel, who could potentially be included as part of Palestinian elections in the future.
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1 ) Colin Wright / USA
22/05/2014 20:13
It's worth pointing out that the 'government of Palestine' would be that government that rules Palestine, and that would be the Israeli government. Only one of the groups named is allowed to vote in those elections. This is all something like student government elections in a high school with a very, very mean principal.

2 ) Tobias / USA
22/05/2014 20:40
A nation living behind security fences should have
A president living behind bars, and
Neither will be pardoned for their crimes !!

3 ) @ Colin-1 / Truths & Realities
23/05/2014 20:55
Please take note of the "No, Is, & Never" Truths and Realities below:
1- There is NO "government of Palestine" because there is NO "Palestine".
2- There IS a government of the Palestinian Authority in the West Bank's
Area A and Area B (Fatah, PLO Abbas, Hamdallah, etc.) just as
There IS a government of the Gaza Strip (Hamas, Haniyeh, etc.), but
3- There will NEVER be government of Israel, that will ever consider governing these areas again, even if the PLO & Hamas refuse to !!!

4 ) colin wright / palestine
24/05/2014 17:47
#1 There is a Palestine, you are just too blind to see it. #2 Israeli government has many members that are war criminals' gallstones relort' most recent #3 Israel got humiliated by Lebanon 2006 war #4 israeli soldiers are skinny pale college students carrying out IRGUN orders #5 Palestinians never cared about what Israelis think #6 israelis don't want peace, it showed when Rain was assassinated by these vampire settlers
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