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In blow to Abbas, senior Fatah official to form separate bloc to run in election

12 5 2

Fatah Central Committee member Nasser al-Qidwa on Wednesday declared his support for a separate bloc to run in the scheduled Palestinian elections, in the latest blow to the unity of the West Bank’s ruling faction.

“I am in favor of forming an electoral slate within the framework of a broad democratic forum that includes various segments of society, not the Fatah movement alone,” al-Qidwa wrote on Twitter.

Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas issued a decree in mid-January ordering the Palestinians to head to elections. If held, they would be the first Palestinian national elections in 15 years. The first voting round, the legislative elections, is set to be held on May 22.

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Many observers were skeptical that the Palestinians would actually head to elections, given years of failed electoral promises by the Palestinian leadership. But the suspicion is slowly growing in diplomatic circles that this time, it may actually happen. In this October 20, 2012, photo, Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas shows his ink-stained finger after casting his vote during local elections at a polling station in the West Bank city of Ramallah. (AP/Majdi Mohammed)

Al-Qidwa and other activists call their new slate the National Democratic Forum. In a tweet, Al-Qidwa said he hoped that convicted Palestinian terrorist Marwan Barghouti “will stand at the head of it.”

Barghouti, who has yet to formally declare his candidacy, is currently serving five life sentences in an Israeli prison for masterminding terror attacks during the Second Intifada.

Al-Qidwa had........

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