RealNews

In election, Abbas steps out of Arafat’s shadow

A campaign poster of Fatah candidate Mahmoud Abbas, looking for a landslide victory in Sunday’s Palestinian presidential election, shows him standing shoulder to shoulder with Yasser Arafat. The two gaze confidently ahead, under the caption: “On your path, we will fulfill the Palestinian dream.”Associating himself with Arafat’s legacy may be a good way to attract votes. Yet during his campaign, which ends Friday, Mr. Abbas has also staked out distinct positions as he struggles to emerge from Arafat’s shadow. He called for an end to the armed intifada, and Thursday in Nablus said his first priority after the election would be to restart peace negotiations with Israel. But this campaign has not been without combative overtones and the emotive symbolism of militants. Abbas, also known as Abu Mazen, reached out to young voters by riding on the shoulders of wanted gunmen during visits to refugee camps where he vowed to defend fugitives.Full Story

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