Report: Abbas hurt by popularity gap between Palestinians at home, abroad
JERUSALEM — Palestinian Authority Chairman Mahmoud Abbas was likely
to lose any election, a report said.
A report submitted to Israel's parliament asserted that Abbas would
probably lose any fair election in the West Bank and Gaza Strip in 2010. The
report by the MACRO Center for Political Economics said Abbas, despite his
pronouncements, has little interest in running for another term in office
out of concern that he would lose to the opposition Hamas movement.
The Knesset received the report on Nov. 11. MACRO distributes position
papers every two weeks to parliamentarians and Cabinet ministers.
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Abbas, the report said, would not implement his pledge to hold elections
in January 2010. The report said the PA chairman has threatened to resign as
a means to restore his flagging popularity.
MACRO, with funding from Western Europe, said the gap between Abbas's
support abroad and that within the Palestinian territories was huge. The
report warned that Abbas and the leadership of the ruling Fatah movement
were poorly regarded by most Palestinians.
Another obstacle to any PA election was Hamas. The report asserted that
Hamas would not allow PA elections to take place in the Gaza Strip, which
would force Abbas to cancel election plans.
The report said Abbas's announcement of elections combined with his
promise to resign were meant to restore his popularity. In October 2009,
Abbas came under unprecedented criticism when he instructed his Palestinian
envoy to block action on a United Nations report that accused Israel of war
crimes. Abbas was said to have acted under heavy U.S. pressure.