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World Briefing / Middle East

Abbas calls for January elections

October 24, 2009|Times Wire Reports

Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas called for presidential and parliamentary elections on Jan. 24, in a bid to regain dominance of the divided Palestinian movement.

The move could sideline his Islamist rivals in the Hamas movement, who control the Gaza Strip, or build pressure on them to sign a pact with Abbas' Fatah movement.

A senior Palestinian official in Ramallah, in the Israeli-occupied West Bank, said Abbas, 74, called for the ballot after the rival factions failed to reach a unity deal in Egyptian-mediated talks. Abbas would be expected to lead his party.

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