Friday, December 24, 2004

Plus One

The first municipal voting among West Bank Palestinians since 1976 took place on Thursday.
More than 140,000 voters will choose from nearly 900 candidates in the town of Jericho and numerous villages,
the BBC said.

The Daily Star (Lebanon) for Friday added that
Palestinian Prime Minister Ahmed Qorei, who cast his ballot in the Jerusalem suburb of Abu Dis, praised the vote as "the first step toward the establishment of the Palestinian state."

"These elections are being held in difficult conditions. But they are a reflection of the democratic voice that we have chosen to build our Palestinian state," Qorei said.
Hamas is boycotting the January presidential balloting, but does have candidates in this election and says it will also run for other municipal and parliamentary offices.
Correspondents say the vote will serve as a barometer of Hamas's level of support beyond its Gaza stronghold.
More elections covering more towns in both the West Bank and Gaza are scheduled for next year, with the first in January.

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