Jerusalem Palestinian leader Mahmoud Abbas' Fatah party held urgent talks Saturday with a breakaway faction of young activists in hopes of reuniting the party and boosting its chances of defeating Hamas in January parliamentary elections.
The faction split from Fatah on Wednesday and formed the Future movement after Abbas, ignoring the results of party primaries dominated by the young guard, announced a parliamentary slate filled with corruption-tainted old-timers.
Abbas sent an envoy to Future's leader, Marwan Barghouti, to request that the sides merge their party slates and officials from both groups met Saturday to try to work out a deal, Fatah and Future officials said, speaking on condition of anonymity because they were not authorized to discuss the sensitive negotiations.
A resolution to the rift was not expected for several days because any agreement would have to be approved by Barghouti, who is serving five life terms in an Israeli prison for involvement in attacks that killed four Israelis and a Greek monk. Palestinian parties have until the end of December to present their final election lists.
Israeli Foreign Minister Silvan Shalom said Abbas should bar Hamas from the election.