Official: Abbas to announce election plans on Sat.

December 12, 2006 11:59

Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas will deliver a long-awaited speech on Saturday in which he will announce his intentions to hold early elections to end a political impasse with Hamas, an aide said Tuesday. Over the weekend, Abbas threatened to call early elections after failed attempts for a unity government with Hamas. The threat drew accusations from Hamas, which defeated Abbas' Fatah party in January parliamentary elections, that Abbas is plotting a coup. Azzam al-Ahmed, a top aide to Abbas, said the president will announce his plans for the early election in a major speech on Saturday. But Abbas is not expected to announce a date for the early vote, giving negotiators more time to reach a deal with Hamas. Aides have said it would be months before a new election could be held.

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