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PLO parliament meeting set for mid-September, in apparent Abbas attempt to consolidate power

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RAMALLAH, West Bank — A top official says the parliament of the Palestine Liberation Organization will meet in the West Bank next month to elect a new leadership.

The upcoming shakeup at the PLO's Palestinian National Council is seen as one of Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas' recent efforts to sideline critics and potential rivals.

PNC chairman Salim Zanoun told The Associated Press on Friday that the two-day session is to begin Sept. 15. He says he has begun sending invitations to more than 700 members, including those outside the Palestinian territories. Zanoun says the council will choose a new 18-member PLO Executive Committee.

The PLO has atrophied since the 1990s, as power shifted to the Palestinian self-rule government headed by Abbas. However, changes in the PLO leadership could help determine Abbas' eventual successor.

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