- Associated Press - Tuesday, September 1, 2015

RAMALLAH, West Bank (AP) — Two officials say Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas has told confidants he won’t seek re-election to the top posts in the Palestine Liberation Organization or his Fatah movement in upcoming elections.

Abbas would retain his most important post, as president of the Palestinian self-rule government. Rumors had been swirling that the 80-year-old plans to step down as president because all roads to Palestinian statehood appear blocked.

The planned election of a new PLO Executive Committee in mid-September would create a pool of potential Abbas successors and give him a say when the time comes. Critics cast his latest moves as an attempt to sideline opponents.

The officials said Tuesday that Abbas told the PLO leadership a day earlier about plans to sit out PLO and Fatah elections.

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