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Palestinian president to pledge elections at UN: official

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Ramallah (Palestinian Territories) (AFP)

Palestinian president Mahmud Abbas will renew a pledge to hold fresh parliamentary elections in a speech to the UN General Assembly on Thursday, a senior official said.

Abbas will say that "after he returns to Palestine he will call parliamentary elections and specify a date and begin formal preparations," Ahmed Majdalani, a senior Palestinian official and Abbas aide, told AFP on Wednesday.

Abbas, 84, has made similar pledges in recent years, but no Palestinian parliamentary elections have taken place since 2006.

Those elections, which were surprisingly won by Islamist movement Hamas, eventually led to a dramatic split, with Hamas seizing control of Gaza in 2007.

Since then the two have traded accusations of blame over the lack of elections.

In December 2018 Abbas pledged to hold parliamentary elections within six months.

Majdalani said Abbas would also call for more support for Palestinians from the international community in his speech.

"He will demand that the UN decide to provide international protection to the Palestinian people under (Israeli) occupation," Majdalani said.

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