February 3, 2011 - 1:00am

Palestinian National Authority President Mahmoud Abbas announced on Wednesday that he doesn't intend to run in any upcoming presidential elections, a senior Palestinian official said.

The Palestinian leadership is seriously studying to prepare for holding new parliamentary and presidential elections, the official said on condition of anonymity.

"President Abbas is expected to call for holding the elections soon, but he hasn't setup a date yet," the official said, in the aftermath of a meeting of Abbas Fatah movement's revolutionary council held in Ramallah.

The official quoted Abbas as saying during the meeting that "we will call for presidential and legislative elections soon and I won't run for another presidential term."

The Islamic Hamas movement, which rules the Gaza Strip, and defeated Fatah movement in the 2006 elections, opposes holding new elections before reaching a reconciliation agreement and ending the current split.

Hamas had seized control of the Gaza Strip by force since it routed secular Abbas security forces in June 2007.

However, the official said that the elections would be held, despite Hamas' opposition.

The official quoted Abbas as saying that "the judge will be the polls as long as achieving a reconciliation agreement is obstructed. The only solution is to hold the elections and any party can come and observe holding it."

Meanwhile, the official revealed that Abbas is also intending to reshuffle the current government of Prime Minister Salam Fayyad.


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