A public opinion poll released Thursday showed that jailed Fatah leader Marwan Barghouti would be the favorite candidate for Palestinian Authority president.

The poll was conducted by the Palestinian Center for Public Opinion [PCPO] and covered 1015 Palestinians.It has a margin of error of three percent.

PCPO president and founder Nabil Kukali said that the overwhelming majority of the Palestinian public believes that Barghouti, who is serving five life terms in prison, would be the most favorite runner for the next presidential elections. 'It's time that Mr. Barghouti should be released from prison to give him the opportunity to contest the elections," he said.

According to the poll, 33% of respondents said they would vote for Barghouti as opposed to 29% for PA President Mahmoud Abbas.

The poll also showed that Barghouti is more poplar than Hamas Prime Minister Ismail Haniyeh. Nearly 50% of respondents said they would cast their ballots for Barghouti, while Haniyeh got only 16%.

The poll showed that a majority of Palestinians would also vote for Barghouti's Fatah faction [39%]. Hamas would get only 15% of the votes, according to the poll.


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