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Barghouti quits Palestine candidacy

Dec. 12, 2004 at 3:06 PM

RAMALLAH, West Bank, Dec. 12 (UPI) -- Jailed Fatah leader Marwan Barghouti declared Sunday he has dropped out of the Jan. 9 Palestinian Authority presidential elections.

Ahmed Ghuneim, member of Fatah movement's highest committee, read a statement in a news conference held in Ramallah together with Marwan's wife Fadwa Barghouti declaring that Marwan has quit his candidacy.

Barghouti's decision to quit running would clear the road for Fatah movement candidate and PLO chairman Mahmoud Abbas, Abu Mazen to become the luckiest candidate to be the new leader of the Palestinians.

"I call upon the Palestinian people to give their votes to Fatah sole candidate Mahmoud Abbas, Abu Mazen to show commitments inside Fatah movement and to keep it united," said Ghuneim reading from Barghouti's letter.

Barghouti put conditions before the Palestinian leadership such as not to make concessions on major issues such as Jerusalem, the refugees' right of return and the release of all Palestinian prisoners.

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