Jailed Palestinian leader Marwan Barghouti formally enters election race
The development is the latest sign of turmoil raging in the Fatah camp ahead of Palestinians' first legislative and parliamentary elections since 2005.
Barghouti, who is serving five life sentences in an Israeli prison on terrorism charges dating back to the Second Intifada, has informed his family and relatives of his intention to submit an independent list for the parliamentary election, sources told The New Arab.
The deadline to submit candidate lists to the Palestinian Central Election Committee is Wednesday.
It still unclear whether Barghouti will himself run for presidential elections on 31 May, but various opinion polls have him beating rival Mahmoud Abbas decisively.
Read also: Is a Barghouti presidency the best hope for a free Palestine?
Fatah has tried to lure the revolutionary-spirited Barghouti back to the party's core in recent months. In February, Palestinian Authority Civil Affairs Minister Hussien Al-Sheikh visited the jailed leader in prison in a bid to dissuade him challenging Abbas in either presidential or parliamentary elections.
Senior Fatah officials have in the past threatened to expel any member of the faction who runs on a separate list. It is unlikely this will happen to Barghouti, who enjoys hero status among the Palestinian public.
He could instead be offered some sort of representation in Fatah's own list, according to party officials who spoke to Haaretz.
Early this month, Abbas stripped a senior Fatah official after he announced he would run on his own electoral list.
Nasser al-Kidwa, the 67-year-old nephew of the late Palestinian leader Yasser Arafat, had announced he would form his own list consisting of independents, business people and youth.
Al-Kidwa also reportedly held talks with Barghouti, whose endorsement he failed to achieve.