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Satisfaction with Abbas drops 6 percent in 3 months, survey finds

Sept. 21, 2015 8:38 P.M. (Updated: Sept. 22, 2015 1:20 A.M.)
BETHLEHEM (Ma'an) -- Amid confusion concerning President Mahmoud Abbas' future in office, a new poll on Monday revealed that Palestinians' satisfaction level with the president dropped six percent in the last three months.

The Palestinian Center for Policy and Survey Research found that the level of satisfaction with the performance of Abbas dropped from 44 percent in June to 38 percent in their latest poll.

Some 65 percent of the public want Abbas to resign, while 31 percent want him to remain in office, the poll found.

However, the same research center found in September last year that the public's satisfaction with Abbas' performance stood at 39 percent --only just higher than this year's results.

A different poll conducted by the Jerusalem Media and Communications Center earlier this month found that support for Abbas was even lower, at just 16 percent.

In August, Abbas announced his resignation as head of the PLO Executive Committee, along with 11 other committee members, although the official resignation was put on hold after a Palestine National Council session to elect new committee members was cancelled.

Israeli media reported in July that Abbas is also planning to announce his resignation as president of the Palestinian Authority, although there has so far been no official confirmation.

There has been speculation that Saeb Erekat -- the PLO's chief negotiator, and secretary-general of the PLO Executive Committee -- is being lined up to succeed Abbas as president.

Monday's poll found that if Abbas were not to run for re-election, only 4 percent would support Erekat, while 32 percent would support imprisoned Fatah leader Marwan Barghouti and 19 percent senior Hamas official Ismail Haniyeh.

Over the weekend, protests against the Palestinian Authority erupted in Bethlehem, with demonstrators from various factions calling for Abbas' resignation amid outrage after PA forces were caught on camera beating demonstrators at a rally in support of Al-Aqsa in Bethlehem.

Last week, Palestinians in the Gaza Strip also burnt photographs of Abbas as well as PA Prime Minister Rami Hamdallah during protests over the enclave's energy crisis.
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