Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas plans to hold the elections for the president's office and the Palestinian Legislative Council in April 2009, the London-based Arabic-language al-Hayat newspaper reported Tuesday.
According to the report, Abbas will soon issue a presidential decree on the issue. Similar remarks were made Monday by the Palestinian leader's spokesman, Nabil Abu Rudeina.
Palestinian sources told the paper that Abbas had discussed the issue recently with a number of Arab leaders, including Syrian President Bashar Assad. They said he had decided not to run for another terms at the end of his tenure on January 9 and has decide to hand over the position to the next elected president.
According to the report, Abbas is infuriated by Hamas' accusations against him throughout his tenure and the claims against his advanced age. Several Arab states, including Syria, advised the Palestinian leader to hold the elections in August and September.
It is still unclear what will happen in the Palestinian Authority on January 9, as Abbas' term comes to an end. Hamas and other Palestinian organizations have made it clear in the past that Abbas is an illegitimate person who does not represent them.
One of the Hamas leaders in the Gaza Strip, Dr. Mahmoud al-Zahar, slammed the PLO Central Council's election of Abbas as president of the state of Palestine, a move which PA sources estimated was initiated in order to allow Abbas to hold on to the title of president.