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Palestinian security prisoner Barghouti, ex-senior Fatah official Naser al-Kidwa to merge slates

Nasser al-Qudwa, a member of Fatah's Central Committee and the nephew of late Palestinian leader Yasser Arafat, addresses a news conference in the West Bank city of Ramallah on January 23, 2019, against a backdrop showing Jerusalem's Dome of the Rock mosque, to comment on a decision by an Israeli court to issue a temporary lien for a plot of land belonging to Arafat in East Jerusalem. (ABBAS MOMANI / AFP)
Nasser al-Qudwa, a member of Fatah's Central Committee and the nephew of late Palestinian leader Yasser Arafat, addresses a news conference in the West Bank city of Ramallah on January 23, 2019, against a backdrop showing Jerusalem's Dome of the Rock mosque, to comment on a decision by an Israeli court to issue a temporary lien for a plot of land belonging to Arafat in East Jerusalem. (ABBAS MOMANI / AFP)

In a twist in the scheduled Palestinian legislative vote, Palestinian security prisoner Marwan Barghouti and former senior Fatah official Naser al-Kidwa are planning to unite their slates, a senior Palestinian official confirmed to The Times of Israel.

According to Palestinian media reports, their joint slate of candidates will be called the Freedom List and is set to be presented in the coming hours.

Barghouti is serving five life sentences in Israeli prison for masterminding terror attacks during the Second Intifada. But he is widely popular among Palestinians, many of whom see him as a symbol of resistance untainted by corruption.

Al-Kidwa is a widely respected senior diplomat and Yasser Arafat’s nephew; until recently, he served as a member of Fatah’s Central Committee, the Palestinian movement’s most powerful decision-making body.

A longtime critic of Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas, al-Kidwa has sharpened his rhetoric in recent months. After he announced that he would run his own slate of candidates against Abbas’s Fatah list, he was expelled from the Central Committee in early February.

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