Abbas Ousts Cabinet in Move Toward Elections
Announcement follows departure of ally Mubarak
By Matt Cantor,  Newser User
Posted Feb 14, 2011 9:23 AM CST
In this Jan. 24, 2011 photo, Palestinian authority President Mahmoud Abbas talks during a press conference following his meeting with Hosni Mubarak at the Presidential palace in Cairo, Egypt.   (AP Photo/Amr Nabil, File)

(Newser) – Taking a step on the path toward new elections, Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas today called on his prime minister to assemble a new cabinet. Officials said presidential and parliamentary elections would take place by September, though Hamas says it won't take part, the Wall Street Journal reports. The announcement quickly followed the departure of Hosni Mubarak, the government’s most powerful ally, and some see it as a reaction to the wave of pro-democracy movements, the Guardian notes.

The current cabinet resigned today, with Abbas calling on the prime minister to build a new cabinet with “the broadest representation possible” among Palestine’s political movements, said a government rep. “We are making this important move not because we are afraid of an uprising, but because our people are ready for elections,” said an official. Hamas says the shift means nothing, notes Ynetnews. “No matter how this government changes its skin—it shall always be illegal as it is not the people's choice."