Jibril Rajoub was slated to participate in an Arab League conference in Cairo but was turned away by authorities.
Party officials say that while Barghouti's prominence cannot be disputed, he cannot be appointed to an operational role while he is in prison.
Analysis Despite Trump's Statements During Netanyahu Meet, Abbas and Palestinians Get Another Reprieve
Trump came and Trump will go, while the Palestinians remain with their demand to be freed of Israeli rule, which for them means military occupation, colonialism, apartheid.
Leading contender for key post, Marwan Barghouti, is serving life sentence in Israeli jail.
Paris peace summit, UN anti-settlements resolution and Trump entering the White House said to be behind agreement. 'A unity government is of strategic importance,' Palestinian official says.
Talal Dwikat is a senior Fatah member and former governor Israel says was arrested for weapons-related crimes.
Long-time opponent Mohammed Dahlan tops list of lawmakers: 'There’s an effort to keep him from any political activity.'
With Abbas in his eighties and Barghouti in jail, many see Jibril Rajoub as next PA president. In conversation with Haaretz, he discusses plans for Palestinian unity and popular struggle against occupation.
Abbas achieves major goals at Fatah conference by forcing main rival Dahlan and his supporters out of the movement.
In his speech to Fatah delegates, the Palestinian president implied that his people should abandon armed struggle and focus on attainable goals. Yet his power doesn't stem from this stance but from his control of funds and jobs.