Abbas asked to postpone Jan. 25 elections

Mahmoud Abbas is under growing pressure from his Fatah Party to postpone the Jan. 25 parliament election amid fears about a possible Hamas victory, an aide to the Palestinian leader confirmed Tuesday.

Abbas is reluctant to delay the vote without Hamas' consent, the aide underlined, speaking on condition of anonymity because he is not authorized to discuss the issue with reporters. Hamas has insisted that the election be held on time.

Abbas plans to raise the issue at a meeting with Egyptian intelligence Omar Suleiman, who is visiting the West Bank on Wednesday, the aide said. Egyptian officials said Suleiman's main mission is to prop up an Israeli-Palestinian truce following a new flareup on the Gaza-Israel border.

In recent weeks, Fatah has been increasingly concerned about Hamas' growing political clout. Two events last week heightened fears of a Hamas victory: Fatah split after a power struggle between the old and young guards, and Hamas swept municipal elections in several West Bank towns, the AP reports.


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