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Abbas hints at early Palestinian elections

Nov. 24, 2008 at 8:08 AM
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RAMALLAH, West Bank, Nov. 24 (UPI) -- Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas says he will call for elections if negotiations with Hamas militants don't produce results soon.

Abbas, speaking Sunday at a meeting of the central committee of the Palestinian Liberation Organization, said he will issue a call for a general election -- including the presidency and the parliament -- if Egyptian-brokered peace talks between rival Palestinian factions Fatah and Hamas don't bear fruit by the end of the year, Ynetnews.com reported.

Abbas said he hasn't given up on the talks, which are being boycotted by Hamas because of Palestinian Authority arrests of gun-carrying militants in the West Bank. But he indicated he would call for elections in early 2009 if they fail.

Hamas spokesman Fawzi Barhoum told Ynetnews.com that Abbas' statements show he's not serious about reconciliation.

"His suggestion to immediately go to elections shows his intent to sabotage the dialogue," Barhoum said.

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