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Palestinians approve 36 groups to run in May election

Palestinian election officials announce that 36 candidate lists have been approved to run in legislative elections set for next month, the first Palestinian polls in 15 years.

The vote, which precedes a presidential election called for July 31, is part of an effort by the dominant Palestinian movements — Fatah and Hamas — to boost international support for Palestinian governance.

Groups had until Wednesday to submit their lists of candidates to run in the May 22 legislative polls.

Individual names on each list are due to be published Tuesday, but the Palestinian electoral commission announces on its website that it has approved all 36 applications.

Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas’s Fatah movement is facing challenges from dissident factions including the Freedom list, led by a nephew of the late Palestinian icon Yasser Arafat, Nasser al-Kidwa. Freedom has been endorsed by Marwan Barghouti, a popular leader who is held in Israeli prison for terrorism, and his wife is second place on the slate.

Former Fatah official Nasser al-Kidwa, center left, and Marwan Barghouti’s wife, Fadwa, center right, leave the Palestinian Central Election Commission office after registering their joint list for the upcoming parliamentary election in May, in the West Bank city of Ramallah, Wednesday, March 31, 2021. (AP/Nasser Nasser)
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