Palestinian parliamentary elections expected to be held before May: official

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RAMALLAH, Jan. 13 (Xinhua) -- The Palestinian parliamentary elections are expected to be held in the Palestinian territories before May, a Palestinian official said Wednesday.

Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas will issue decrees in the coming days to set specific dates for holding the parliamentary elections and then the presidential and the Palestinian National Council (PNC) elections, Sabri Seidam, a member of the central committee of Abbas' Fatah party, told Xinhua.

The Palestinian Central Elections Commission (CEC) informed Abbas that it needs at least 120 days to prepare for the elections after the decrees are issued, he said.

Seidam revealed that the Palestinian political factions will convene by the end of January to discuss an agreement on the mechanism for holding the elections as well as the preparations for holding them in the Gaza Strip.

Turkey, Qatar, Russia, and Egypt will monitor the entire process of the general elections held in the Palestinian territories, he noted.

Abbas earlier met with a CEC delegation in Ramallah and agreed that the presidential decrees for setting dates for holding the elections would be issued by Jan. 20.

The last parliamentary elections were held in the Palestinian territories in late 2006 when the Hamas movement, now ruler of Gaza, won a majority. Abbas was elected as the President of the Palestinian Authority in 2005. Enditem

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