Abbas Set to Formally Postpone Elections

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RAMALLAH - Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas will announce an indefinite postponement of presidential and legislative elections, which had been scheduled for January 24.

The Palestinian Central Elections Committee endorsed the postponement because the ruling Hamas faction in the Gaza Strip would not have allowed residents to vote.

"The president has reached the conclusion that it's impossible to hold elections without the Gaza Strip," one senior PA official told Jerusalem Post Palestinian Affairs correspondent Khaled Abu Toameh. Abbas will not reschedule the elections until Fatah and Hamas reconcile, he said.

"It's premature to decide on a new date. A lot depends on whether the Egyptians and other Arab parties succeed in achieving reconciliation between Hamas and Fatah," the official said.

Fatah and Hamas formed a unity government in March 2007, following Saudi-mediated reconciliation talks, which produced an agreement entitled the Mecca Accords. But Abbas dissolved the short-lived coalition three months later when Hamas wrested control of the Gaza Strip from Fatah in a bloody military coup in June.

Early Elections in Jordan

Meanwhile, for the second time since he assumed power in 1999, Jordan's King Abdullah II dissolved the Jordanian parliament on Monday, paving the way for general elections two years before they were to be held in November 2011.

In Jordan's last general election in 2007, the Islamic Action Front, the political wing of the Muslim Brotherhood, decried the defeat of the majority of their candidates, claiming electoral fraud and vote buying.

The Muslim Brotherhood, a Sunni organization founded in 1928, is active in number of Arab countries. Often described as an Islamic revivalist movement, the Muslim Brotherhood frequently functions in political opposition to secular Arab governments.

The group strongly advocates fully observant Islamic life, embracing such concepts as jihad ("holy" war) against infidels (non-Muslims) and sharia law (Islamic religious law) for all citizens.

Sources: The Jerusalem Post, AFP

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