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Results show Fatah defeats Hamas in vote
Updated: 2005-10-02 10:41

GAZA CITY, Gaza Strip — Official results from Palestinian elections released Saturday confirmed that Palestinian leader Mahmoud Abbas' Fatah party won in 51 of 104 municipalities, to 13 for the Hamas militant group.

A Palestinian woman holds a baby as she casts her vote at a polling station in the West Bank village of Bit Kahel near Hebron September 29, 2005. [Reuters]
Hamas accused the Palestinian Election Committee of distorting the results of a round of municipal voting to make it appear that Fatah had swept the poll.

Committee head Jamal Shobaki released the final results at a news conference on Saturday, a day after Fatah's strong showing became known. He said other factions or coalitions won in the remaining 40 municipalities.

Thursday's vote was the third of four rounds of municipal elections, and was not necessarily a predictor of parliamentary elections in January because local issues and candidates' clan membership figured heavily .

The election committee intentionally avoided announcing that Fatah ran unopposed in some areas to make it appear its candidates had trounced Hamas, said Sami Abu Zuhri, a Hamas spokesman in Gaza. He said, however, that Hamas would not officially challenge the results.

"The announcement by the local election committee was biased," Abu Zuhri said. "It was a maneuver on the part of the election committee to present the numbers in an indirect way to favor one faction, and we will tell our people the truth."
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