RealNews

'Unknowns' stirring Palestinian race

In an election dominated by a jailed intifada leader and a moderate veteran negotiator who both come from the ruling Fatah party, an alternative voice is struggling to emerge. It belongs to Mustafa Barghouthi, ranked a distant third in polls, whose candidacy is seen as a chance to develop a “third way” in Palestinian politics, distinct from both Fatah and Hamas, the Islamic fundamentalist opposition that is boycotting the election. Mr. Barghouthi is unlikely to become president, but his campaign may lay the foundations for the creation of a viable secular opposition in Palestinian politics, analysts say. “If he does well, it could be like a revolution or coup in Palestinian political life,” says Hani Masri, a Palestinian official who is a political columnist in the al-Ayyam newspaper. “Fatah and Hamas will have to deal with a third party. Most of the people who vote for him will do so not because they are in love with him, but because they are against Fatah.” Full Story

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