RAMALLAH, West Bank (AFP) – Palestinian president Mahmud Abbas said on Sunday that he will call snap presidential and parliamentary elections in the New Year if reconciliation talks with the Islamist Hamas movement fail.
“If the dialogue does not succeed, then at the start of next year we will issue a presidential decree calling parliamentary and presidential elections,” Abbas told a meeting of the Central Council of the Palestine Liberation Organisation.
He said that nonetheless he remains “ready to continue the dialogue in which we have been making every effort for success.”
The Islamist Hamas movement which controls Gaza pulled out of Egyptian-brokered unity talks with Abbas’s secular Fatah faction earlier this month, accusing his security forces of rounding up its supporters in the West Bank.
Abbas’s term as president expires on January 8 and Hamas had been threatening not to recognise his authority from the following day.
The Islamists won an upset victory in the last parliamentary elections in 2006.