Published: Nov 15, 2011 5:43 PM EST

RAMALLAH, West Bank (AP) - A Palestinian official says the rival Fatah and Hamas movements have agreed to hold elections next May in what would be a major step toward ending a four-year rift.
    
Azzam al-Ahmad, a top Fatah official, says the sides agreed to form a caretaker government to prepare for the elections. He says Prime Minister Salam Fayyad will probably not stay in office.
    
Dismissing Fayyad would be a huge gamble. The U.S.-educated economist is widely respected in the West and is key to ensuring the flow of international aid.
    
Hamas objects to Fayyad's participation in a caretaker government.
    
The Palestinians have been divided between two governments since Hamas overran the Gaza Strip in 2007. The Fatah-led Palestinian Authority has governed only the West Bank since then. The division has complicated peace efforts.

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