Palestinian leader Mahmoud Abbas will soon announce elections for the Palestinian parliament and presidency to be held in April of next year, according to the London-based Arab newspaper al-Hayat.
Abbas is also expected to announce that he will not run in the election, possibly increasing the chances that Hamas will follow up its 2006 electoral takeover of the legislature by putting one of its own in the president's chair.
Palestinian Authority spokesman Nabil Abu Rudeina backed up the report in remarks to journalists on Monday.
Abbas' term as president officially ends on January 9, though he intends to issue an executive order temporarily extending his rule. Hamas and other allied Palestinian groups had previously said they would not recognize the order, but they may be willing to revise that position if Abbas sets elections for as soon as April and takes himself out of the race.
However, Hamas is likely to reject moving up the parliamentary elections, currently scheduled to take place only in 2010.