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Exit Polls in Palestinian Presidential Vote Give Abbas a Large Lead

  • VOA News

Unofficial exit polls in Palestinian elections for a successor to the late president Yasser Arafat indicate mainstream Fatah candidate Mahmoud Abbas has an overwhelming lead over his six competitors. The polls suggest Mr. Abbas has 66-percent of the vote, more than the amount analysts say he needs to ensure a mandate for his plan to pursue peace with Israel. Final, official results are expected Monday. International observers say voting went relatively smoothly. U.S. Secretary of State says the United States will support the new Palestinian president and increase development aid to the Palestinians. Palestinians were eligible to vote in the West Bank, Gaza Strip and East Jerusalem. Voting was extended for two-hours to allow more people to cast ballots. The Palestinian militant group Hamas had called for a boycott of the vote.
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