Khamis, Januari 26, 2006

Hamas Claims Vote Victory, Fatah Acknowledges

Hamas supporters celebrate the group's victory in the Palestinian elections 

Additional Reporting By Mustafa el-Sawwaf, IOL Correspondent

GAZA CITY, January 26, 2006 ( & News Agencies) – Hamas has won an absolute majority of seats in the Palestinian legislative elections, said a Hamas official on Thursday, January 26, , according to initial results, with the mainstream Fatah acknowledging for Hamas victory.

"Hamas has won more than 70 seats in Gaza and the West Bank, which gives it more than 50 percent of the vote", Ismail Haniyeh, who headed Hamas's list in the Palestinian elections, told Reuters.

Sami Abu Zuhri, spokesman for the faction, said Hamas won at least 43 seats in constituencies and more than 45 percent of the remainder of seats which are being elected via party lists.

The combined total would give Hamas's Change and Reform list 75 seats in the Ramallah-based Palestinian Legislative Council.

Of the 132 seats in parliament up for grabs, 66 were elected on a constituency basis and 66 via proportional representation-style lists.

"This is a victory of the Palestinian people who voted against the occupation (by Israel in the West Bank), who voted for resistance, who voted for a new political system based on political partnership," said Haniyeh.

Such results would put Hamas in a position to set the shape of a Palestinian government, he added.

The Palestinian electoral commission had no immediate comment but was expected to issue official results later on Thursday for the 132-member parliament.

On Wednesday, exit polls showed Hamas had won at least 53 seats and that Palestinian President Mahmud Abbas's Fatah, which has dominated Palestinian politics for decades, had got 58.

Fatah Acknowledges

Mahmoud Al-Zahar, senior Hamas official, said the group's Change and Reform list has made a breakthrough in Wednesday's vote.

"The Change and Reform list is advancing in the West Bank and Gaza Strip," he told

"Hamas has won over all other runners in the polls."

Mainstream Fatah movement has acknowledged Hamas victory in Wednesday's legislative elections.

"Hamas has beaten Fatah in the elections," a senior Fatah official told AFP on condition of anonymity.

Another Fatah candidate also agreed that Hamas had won the vote.

"They have won more seats than us in the legislative council," he said also on condition of anonymity.

New Government

"Hamas has won more than 70 seats in Gaza and the West Bank, which gives it more than 50 percent of the vote", Haniyeh said

The election results would put Hamas in a position to set the shape of the future Palestinian government.

"In the light of these first results, we will consult president (Palestinian President Mahmud Abbas) Abu Mazen and the Fatah brothers on the type of political partnership," Haniya said.

"We are also going to talk to parliamentary groups about the nature of this political partnership," he added.

One Hamas source told AFP that a decision on the movement's participation in the incoming administration would be taken "today or tomorrow" but would "probably be favorable".

The United States and the European Union have assured Israel they will not recognize any Palestinian government in which Hamas participates.

EU Foreign Policy Chief Javier Solana warned on December 18, that if Hamas wins the polls, it will be "very difficult that help and the money that goes to ... the Palestinian Authority will continue to flow".

Two days before, the US House of Representatives threatened the PA that it risked losing US financial aid and other support if it allowed Hamas to contest the polls


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