Angus Reid Global Monitor
March 18, 2008 - 6:51pm

Two members of Fatah are the most popular presidential contenders for residents of the West Bank and Gaza Strip, according to a poll by the Palestinian Center for Public Opinion (PCPO). 24.3 per cent of respondents say Marwan Barghouti is their favourite candidate in the next presidential election, while 23.1 per cent prefer incumbent Mahmoud Abbas.

Hamas member Ismail Haniyeh is third with 12.4 per cent, followed by Mustafa Barghouthi of the Palestinian National Initiative with 9.5 per cent, and former national security advisor Mohammed Dahlan with 5.2 per cent.

Abbas won the January 2005 presidential ballot with 62.32 per cent of all cast ballots. In January 2006, Hamas won the Palestinian Legislative Council election, securing 74 of the 112 seats at stake. Haniyeh officially took over as prime minister in March. The Israeli government believes Hamas is directly responsible for the deaths of 377 citizens in a variety of attacks, which include dozens of suicide bombings.

In February 2007, Hamas and Fatah leaders reached an accord which set the guidelines for a power-sharing Palestinian administration, headed by Hamas, which would "respect" past peace agreements with Israel. In June, amid a wave of violent clashes between Palestinian supporters of the Hamas and Fatah factions, Hamas militants seized control of Gaza. Abbas issued a decree to form a 12-member emergency government—based in the West Bank—and expelled Hamas from the administration. Fatah member Salam Fayyad was appointed as prime minister by Abbas.

Marwan Barghouti was convicted in an Israeli court and sentenced to five life terms in prison for his alleged involvement in deadly attacks by the Al-Aqsa Martyrs Brigades. Many Palestinians believe the charges against Barghouti were made up, and he is considered a political prisoner.

Last month, Israeli infrastructure minister Benjamin Ben Eliezer called for Marwan Barghouti’s release, saying, "He is by no means a moderate. But at least if an agreement is signed with him, he will stand by it. I know him very well, and I am convinced and certain that he knows military options will not bring an answer to the conflict. (...) He is a murderer, yes. But you do not sign agreements with educators and professors; you sign agreements with strong leaders."

Polling Data

Who is your favourite candidate you would vote for to be the president of the Palestinian Authority in the next presidential elections?

Marwan Barghouthi


Mahmoud Abbas


Ismail Haniyeh


Mustafa Barghouthi


Mohammed Dahlan


Khalid Mashal


Mahmoud Zahar


Salam Fayyad


Aziz El-Duwaik


Ahmed Qorei




Don’t know


Source: Palestinian Center for Public Opinion (PCPO)
Methodology: Face-to-face interviews with 1,220 Palestinian adults in the West Bank and Gaza Strip, conducted from Feb. 22 to Mar. 6, 2008. Margin of error is 2.8 per cent.


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