Candidate profiles

Here are some brief profiles of candidates in the Palestinian elections.

    Marwan al-Barghuthi (L) heads Mahmoud Abbas's Fatah list

    FATAH

    MARWAN AL-BARGHUTHI, 46, top candidate of Mahmoud 

    Abbas's Fatah party and the most popular leader of the second

    Palestinian intifada, or uprising, against Israeli occupation. 

    C

    onsidered a possible successor to President Abbas.

    Al-Barghuthi, a

    legislator in the outgoing parliament, is serving five

    consecutive life terms in an Israeli prison for involvement

    in attacks that killed four Israelis and a Greek monk.

    A

    former ally of Israeli peace activists, he backs the

    establishment of a Palestinian state alongside Israel, but

    says Palestinians should use force to drive Israel from

    occupied lands.

    A leader of Fatah's young guard, he is

    pushing for a generational change in the movement.

    Israel has said it will not grant him early release, al

    though there is persistent speculation that he would be freed in

    the right political context.

    ********

    MUHAMMAD ABU ALI YATTA, 50, second on the Fatah list.

    He

    has been in Israeli prison for 26 years, sentenced to life

    for killing an Israeli settler. He has not previously

    occupied any position in Fatah, and is believed to have

    been put on the list as a gesture to the thousands of

    Palestinians held by Israel. He is among the longest-

    serving inmates.

    ********

    INTISSAR AL-WAZIR, 64,

    long-time leader of the Palestinian women's movement.

    Has

    been welfare minister since 1996 and is the widow of Khalil al-Wazir, the military chief of the Palestine Liberation Organisation

    who was killed in an

    Israeli commando raid in Tunis in 1988. She has been a

    member of the Palestine National Council since 1974.

    ******************

    HAMAS


    ISMAIL HANIYA, 46, the top Hamas candidate.

    Born in

    Gaza's Shati refugee camp, he graduated from Gaza City's

    Islamic University 1987 with a degree in Arabic literature

    and became a close associate of Shaikh Ahmad

    Yassin, the founder of Hamas.

    Ismail Haniya (R) has served as
    liaison between Hamas and the PA

    He was expelled by Israel to south Lebanon in 1992,

    returned to Gaza a year later and became the dean of the

    Islamic University.

    In 1998, he took charge of Yassin's

    office.

    A pragmatist, he served as a liaison between Hamas

    and the Palestinian Authority. 

    He rose to

    prominence after Israel's assassinations in 2004 of Yassin

    and Yassin's successor, Abd al-Aziz al-Rantisi. He has been a

    member of the political leadership of Hamas since the

    1990s.

    ********

    MUHAMMAD ABU TAIR, 55, second on the Hamas list.

    Spent 25

    years in Israeli jails. He is from Jerusalem, and is a

    former member of Fatah and of the Popular Front for

    the Liberation of Palestine-General Command.

    With his

    bright orange beard, dyed with henna in line with Islamic

    tradition, Abu Tair preaches in local mosques and is a

    patriarch of the Abu Tair clan in the neighbourhood of Um

    Tuba on the edge of Jerusalem.

    ********

    JAMILA SHANTI, 50, the leading woman

    candidate for Hamas and third on the group's national

    list.

    A holder of a doctorate in English, she taught at the

    Islamic University in Gaza before resigning to campaign for

    the elections.

    She is a founder of the women's section in

    Hamas.

    ******************

    INDEPENDENT PALESTINE PARTY

    MUSTAFA AL-BARGHUTHI, 51, leads the

    new party on a platform of clean government. 

    Mustafa al-Barghuthi ran for
    president early last year

    The Jerusalem-born physician is

    known throughout the West Bank and Gaza Strip for running a

    healthcare think-tank and a pro-democracy lobby group.

    He

    ran against Abbas for the Palestinian Authority presidency

    early last year, winning about 20% of the vote.

    In 1991, al-

    Barghuthi - a distant relative of Marwan al-Barghuthi - took

    part in the Madrid peace conference that paved the way for

    peace accords between Israel and the Palestinians.

    Articulate and media-savvy, he has campaigned against

    Israel's separation wall.

    ********

    RAWYA aL-SHAWA, second on al-Barghuthi's list and a

    legislator in

    the outgoing parliament.

    From a prominent

    family in Gaza, her father and her husband both headed the

    Gaza City municipality.

    She waged an anti-corruption

    campaign in parliament and was an outspoken critic of the late president,

    Yasser Arafat.

    ******************

    THE THIRD WAY

    SALAM FAYYAD, 53, founded the new Third Way p

    arty, which favours negotiations with Israel and sweeping

    reform to root out corruption.

    Has been minister of

    finance since 2002, and is credited with doing much to

    clean up the Palestinian Authority finances.

    Formerly a senior executive at the International Monetary

    Fund and received postgraduate degrees from the University

    of Texas.

    ********

    HANAN ASHRAWI, 59, Christian, emerged as a prominent figure in

    Palestinian politics during the first intifada,

    which erupted in 1987.

    Ashrawi quit her minister's post
    to protest against graft

    Eloquent and often feisty, she was

    official spokeswoman for the Palestinian delegation to the

    Middle East peace talks from 1991-93, and headed a committee

    responsible for Jerusalem's citizens rights after the

    signing of the peace agreement.

    She was appointed minister

    of higher education in 1996, and quit her post in a

    high-profile rebuke to Arafat over corruption in 1998.

    A

    legislator in the outgoing parliament, she serves on a

    number of international bodies, including the Council of

    Foreign Relations.

    SOURCE: Aljazeera + Agencies


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