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Presidential and legislative elections have been agreed for 4 May but may not happen so soon.

Much depends on the reconciliation talks between Fatah and Hamas, the two main parties.

The talks are fraught with difficulty and have so far shown little progress towards establishing a unity government.

Any unity government that includes Hamas without Hamas recognising Israel and renouncing violence would be shunned by the US and the EU.

The Arab uprisings have shifted the poliltical landscape; Hamas may or may not be interested in a major re-alignment.

It remains unclear whether incumbent Abbas ould be the Fatah candidate, while Ismail Haniyeh, prime minister in Gaza would probably stand for Hamas

Opinion polls give Fatah a clear advantage, but they may be inaccurate

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