UAE-backed Dahlan 'may run in upcoming Palestinian elections'
“The current institutions will decide who will be on the list of candidates, and if we are going to nominate a specific person for the presidency," Dahlan told Saudi Arabia’s Al-Arabiya in an interview released on Wednesday.
"But I can guarantee brother Abu Mazen that he will not be the only candidate in the upcoming elections,” he said, referring to the Palestinian president by his nickname.
“Abbas has only brought poverty, illness and stress to the Palestinian people,” he added. “He is the leader of the Palestinian people and, as such, he bears responsibility for the failure. He has destroyed the dignity of the Palestinians. What are Abbas’s achievements over the past 15 years? One big zero.”
Dahlan said that his new movement, the Democratic Reform Current, would participate in the upcoming Palestinian elections.
“If the elections are fair, the list representing Abbas would be in a difficult situation,” he said.
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He did not rule out the possibility that he would run in the PA presidential election. He clarified, however, that his movement would decide who would run in the parliamentary and presidential elections.
“I want to assure Abbas that he will not be the only candidate in the presidential election,” Dahlan said. “Abbas is not aware of this because he’s living on a different planet.”
PA officials said that Dahlan is forbidden from standing as a candidate in the upcoming elections because he had been convicted of embezzlement of public funds by a Palestinian court in 2014.
Dahlan was appointed head of the preventative security force in Gaza between 1994 and 2002, after the Oslo Accords, but he fell out with the PA after the coastal enclave fell to Hamas in 2007.
During his time as head of preventative security force, he launched a crackdown in Gaza and became notorious for his violent treatment of Hamas supporters.
Gaza became known to some as "Dahlanistan" because of the power Dahlan had acquired in the city.
After being convicted of corruption, Dahlan moved to the United Arab Emirates a decade ago but has sought to raise his profile in the occupied Palestinian territories in recent months.
He personally oversaw a delivery of the Russian-made Sputnik V coronavirus vaccine into Israeli-blockaded Gaza, describing the shipment as a gift from UAE.
Abbas and Dahlan were allies when Palestinians last went to the polls.
Party lists for legislative elections are scheduled to be announced on 20 March.
Palestinians will head to the polls for the first time in 15 years in the summer. The legislative elections will take place on 22 May and a presidential vote is scheduled for 31 July.