Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas is finalising a new, combined list of candidates for next month’s parliamentary elections.Abbas hopes to close a damaging rift in his Fatah party as it faces a serious challenge from the Islamic Resistance Movement, Hamas. Registration will re-open for six hours on Wednesday following a decision by election authorities. It gives Abbas the chance to merge rival lists within his party, which had threatened to undermine its power. A rival list to that of the traditional Fatah leaders is headed by Marwan Barghouti, who is serving life in prison for his role in the Intifada. The two sides have agreed to merge following intense talks. Hamas’ recent success in municipal elections shows the extent of the party’s popularity. In the face of the challenge, Fatah will have its work cut out to keep its parliamentary majority. Opinion polls credit Hamas with 30 percent of the potential vote. A united Fatah party could get more than 45 percent. But a divided Fatah would manage only half that.