Palestinians vote amid tight security measures
Palestine-Israel, Politics, 1/25/2006
Palestinian voters headed today to voting centers to cast their votes in the second legislative elections since the signing of the Oslo agreement in 1993.
The Islamic resistance movement Hamas is taking part for the first time in the legislative elections amid expectations that it would achieve good results, while Israeli officials warned that the winning of Hamas would end the efforts to achieve peace in the Middle East, and Washington shares with Israel this very understanding.
Some 1.4 million Palestinians eligible to vote are expected to take place in the elections in Gaza, the West Bank and East Jerusalem in order to choose members of the Palestinian legislative council which is composed of 132 members. The voters cast their votes for 11 party lists at the national level and more than 400 candidates at the regions level.
The elections are being held amid tough security measures and under the supervision of 900 foreign observers chaired by the former American president Jimmy Carter.
Seven Palestinian groups including Hamas and two armed groups belonging to Fatah vowed to observe a "document of honor" by sending unarmed observers to help the Palestinian police in protecting the ballot centers.
More than 13,000 Palestinian security men were put in a state of utmost alert in precaution of the occurrence of attacks during the elections which are boycotted by the Islamic Jihad movement.
The recent opinion poll whose results were published on Tuesday said that Fatah will loose its greater majority in the Legislative council. The opinion poll which was held by the "Near East Center For Consultations" predicted that Fatah will get 59 seats against 54 seats for Hamas.
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