Early results in the Palestinian municipal elections in the West Bank show the dominant Fatah movement to have come out on top.
The militant group Hamas appears to be in second place. The preliminary results indicate that Fatah has won the most seats in at least half of the 26 local councils in yesterday’s vote. The poll has been widely seen as a warm up to January’s Presidential election which Hamas is boycotting. It was also predicted as a test of strength between Hamas and Fatah. Some analysts commented that big Hamas gains could make the new President’s job more difficult in terms of getting fighters to disarm. Observers say the poll went ahead without any major irregularities. Turnout was high with about 84 percent of Palestinians casting their ballot. Official results are to be announced Sunday.