Nasser Kidwa (ناصر القدوة), born in Gaza in 1954, is a senior member of Fatah and Yasser Arafat’s nephew. He joined the party in 1969 and subsequently became a member of its Central Committee (FCC). He has been a member of the Palestinian National Council (PNC) since 1975. Kidwa co-heads the ‘Freedom‘ list and will be standing in the May 2021 legislative elections.
Kidwa has had a rocky relationship with Mahmoud Abbas. In May 2018, he reportedly tendered his resignation from the FCC over the results of the PNC meeting that month. The resignation was rejected by Mahmoud Aloul (deputy-chairman of the FCC).
In April 2021, he announced the formation of a rival electoral list, the National Democratic Assembly, to contest legislative elections in May 2020. In response, the FCC expelled him. Abbas subsequently announced he had fired Kidwa from his position as the head of the Yasser Arafat Foundation — despite the fact that the foundation is a legally independent institution. A few hours before the registration deadline, Kidwa agreed to merge his list with Marwan Barghouti, another veteran Fatah leader, to produce the ‘Freedom’ list.
After serving as the PLO’s representative to the United Nations between 1991-2005, Kidwa briefly served as Palestinian foreign minister in 2005. He played a key role bringing Palestine’s case against Israel’s separation wall to the International Court of Justice, which issued an advisory opinion declaring the wall’s illegality in 2004.
Since 2007, Kidwa has held various international roles including as the UN Secretary General’s Special Envoy to Afghanistan; and the Arab League Envoy to Syria (serving as deputy under Kofi Annan and then Lakhdar Brahimi), and as the Arab League’s Special envoy to Libya.