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Palestinians Plan January Vote for President

Palestinian officials have confirmed that elections to replace president Yasser Arafat will be held on January 9.

Caretaker President Rawhi Fattouh said Sunday the nominating period for candidates will begin November 20, and run for 12 days.

The announcement of the vote comes three days after Mr. Arafat died in a Paris hospital. He did not appoint a successor.

The new chairman of the Palestine Liberation Organization, Mahmoud Abbas, will travel to Gaza today to meet with Mr. Arafat's mourners and various Palestinian factions.

The former prime minister is widely expected to be chosen as the presidential candidate of the mainstream Fatah faction.

Meanwhile, Israeli Prime Minister Ariel Sharon said today he will not rule out the possibility of allowing Palestinians living in disputed east Jerusalem to vote in the upcoming election.

Some Israelis fear allowing Palestinians in Jerusalem to vote would strengthen their claim on the city.

Some information for this report provided by AP, AFP and Reuters.