Poll: Abbas wins Palestinian election by 66%
Mahmoud Abbas won 66 percent of the vote in the Palestinian presidential election Sunday, according to an exit poll. Abbas' main challenger, Mustafa Barghouti, won 19.7 percent of the vote, according to the poll conducted by the independent Palestinian Center for Policy and Survey Research.
Polling stations opened at 7 A.M. Sunday in the West Bank and the Gaza Strip, as Palestinians started to cast their votes in the presidential election that is expected to see PLO leader Mahmoud Abbas (Abu Mazen) as the new leader of the Palestinian Authority, replacing the late Yasser Arafat.
Dr. Rami Al-Hamdallah, secretary general of the Palestinian central elections committee, has said that the final results would be announced on Monday morning. He told a press conference in Ramallah that the seven candidates’ election campaigns, which continued for two weeks, were officially rounded up Saturday.
Rami said that the campaign progressed satisfactorily although the committee had received a number of complaints that were adequately dealt with. He said that the committee did not count much on the Israeli declaration that it would ease military measures in the vicinity of Palestinian cities.
“We have not seen anything taking place on the ground,” the committee chairman said, adding that all preparations for the elections day were complete.
Rami said that 16,300 employees were trained on election process to receive around 1.7 million eligible voters. He affirmed that the committee had prepared for the elections in a record period of 60 days and that 1,777 balloting boxes were distributed on polling centers in the West Bank, Gaza Strip and occupied Jerusalem.
Centarl Election Commission (CEC) said Sunday afternoon that the voting proccess has been extended to 9 p.m (Palestine Local Time), as hundreds of Palestinian voters could not reach polling stations because of Israeli miltary measures.
In an urgent press conference in Ramallah, Baha' al-Bakri, CEC public realations director said the decision has been taken in an attempt to overcome the Israeli restrictions, mainly in Jerusalem and the Gaza Strip city of Khanyounis.
He added that none of Israel's promises of easing movement of voters at checkpoints was kept, affirming that Israeli soldiers hindered many voters at Dahiat al-Bareed polling station in East Jerusalem, and none of Israeli checkpoints has not been removed.