RAMALLAH, April 21, 2021 - Imprisoned Fateh leader Marwan Barghouthi holds a commanding lead over President Abu Mazen and Hamas leader Ismail Haniyeh in a three-way race, were presidential elections held today, according to a new JMCC and Friedrich Ebert Stiftung poll.
In the possible presidential showdown, 33.5% would vote for Marwan Barghouthi while 24.5% would vote for Mahmoud Abbas (Abu Mazen), 10.5% would vote for Ismail Haniyeh and 31.5% said they still did not know. More generally, 60.2% said they supported the idea of Marwan Barghouthi running for president, while 19.3% said they did not. Barghouthi is serving consecutive life sentences in an Israeli prison, but Palestinians consider him a political prisoner.
In the upcoming legislative council elections, Palestinians will vote for factional lists. But nearly one in three respondents in the West Bank and one in five in the Gaza Strip said that they would not vote.
The list headed by Fateh leader and former Nablus governor Mahmoud Aloul leads the legislative polling, with 25.3% of the vote (23.1% in the West Bank and 28.7% in the Gaza Strip). Another 13% said they would vote for the Freedom List, headed by diplomat and nephew of Yasser Arafat, Nasser al-Qudwa, and Marwan Barghouthi (15% in the West Bank and 10.1% in the Gaza Strip).
Next in popularity was the Future List, headed by Gaza Fateh leader Samir Mashharawi, 8.8%, (20.2% in the Gaza Strip and 1.1% in the West Bank), followed by the Al Quds is our Destiny List, headed by Hamas leader and former Legislative Council representative Khalil Hayya, 8.2% (5.9% in the West Bank and 11.5% in the Gaza Strip), and The People’s Pulse List, headed by imprisoned Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine leader Ahmad Sa'adat at 2.2% and the Together We Can list headed by former prime minister Dr. Salam Fayyad, at 2.1%.
While the elections have been welcomed by the European Union and the United Nations, there remains some skepticism that they will be held at all. Previous planned votes have been scuttled and it remains unclear whether East Jerusalem residents, who live under direct Israeli control, will be allowed to vote. The rest of the West Bank and Gaza Strip are also occupied by Israel but governed in some areas by the Palestinian Authority, which is planning these elections.
A legislative vote held in 2006 resulted in violence and a long stalemate after Hamas won a majority but was not allowed to govern. The Islamic movement ultimately overran government security positions in the Gaza Strip, splitting the Palestinian leadership.