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Sharon to Quit Party, Campaign Separately


Israel's Prime Minister Ariel Sharon is to quit his Likud Party and campaign separately in national elections.

Israel's Army Radio quoted officials as saying Mr. Sharon will ask Monday for parliament to be dissolved and for new elections be held. It was not immediately clear when such a poll would be held.

The move follows clashes between Mr. Sharon and other Likud members over the decision to withdraw this year from the Gaza Strip and parts of the West Bank. Mr. Sharon helped found the party 30 years ago on a platform of Jewish settlement in
all of Israel.

Earlier, Israel's Labor party decided to quit the ruling coalition that included Likud -- partly due to differences over economic policy.

The Labor party joined Mr. Sharon's Likud-led coalition last year to help the prime minister defeat Likud rightists who tried unsuccessfully to block Israel's withdrawal from the Gaza Strip.

Information for this report is provided by AP, AFP and Reuters.

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