Palestinian official: Rivals agree on election

November 15, 2011 - 12:15 PM

RAMALLAH, West Bank (AP) — A Palestinian official says the rival Fatah and Hamas movements have agreed to hold elections next May in what would be a major step toward ending a four-year rift.

Azzam al-Ahmad, a top Fatah official, says the sides agreed to form a caretaker government to prepare for the elections. He says Prime Minister Salam Fayyad will probably not stay in office.

Dismissing Fayyad would be a huge gamble. The U.S.-educated economist is widely respected in the West and is key to ensuring the flow of international aid.

Hamas objects to Fayyad's participation in a caretaker government.

The Palestinians have been divided between two governments since Hamas overran the Gaza Strip in 2007. The Fatah-led Palestinian Authority has governed only the West Bank since then. The division has complicated peace efforts.