GAZA CITY, Gaza Strip -Palestinian parliamentary elections will be held Jan. 25, Palestinian leader Mahmoud Abbas announced Saturday.
The elections were initially to have been held in July, but were postponed indefinitely because of Israel”s Gaza pullout. In setting a firm date, Abbas was making a conciliatory gesture to his political rival, Hamas, which is expected to make a strong showing in the vote.
"The parliamentary election will take place in all of the homeland districts on Wednesday, Jan. 25, 2006," Abbas told a "model parliament" of high school students in Gaza City on Saturday.
The chief Palestinian negotiator, Saeb Erekat, had said last week that elections would be held Jan. 21, based on a decision by the PLO Executive Committee. At the time, Erekat said the announcement was to be made a few days later in a presidential decree.
However, officials went back to the calendar and changed the date, in part because of a major Muslim holiday and the pilgrimage to Mecca during that period, Erekat said.