Split results in West Bank vote in Palestinian election: Officials
RAMALLAH (AP) - Palestinian election officials said on Sunday that voters choosing new local councils in the West Bank rebuffed candidates from President Mahmoud Abbas' Fatah movement in five of the 11 main towns, an apparent blow to the Palestinian leader.
Fatah had hoped to revive its flagging political legitimacy with Saturday's municipal elections, the first voting in the Palestinian territories in more than six years. With main rival Hamas boycotting the election, Fatah counted on a strong endorsement from voters.
Fatah won local council majorities in six towns, but lost in five others, a performance some said fell below expectations. In four of the towns where Fatah lost, including Ramallah, the seat of Mr Abbas' government, voters preferred independent lists dominated by Fatah breakaways. In a fifth, biblical Bethlehem, never a Fatah stronghold, leftists and independents won.
Election officials spoke anonymously as official results were not to be released until later in the day.