Abbas wins election, offers Israel 'hand of peace'

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A map of the Gaza Strip showing key towns and neighbouring countries.

Monday, January 10, 2005

After winning the election of January 9, 2005 by a large margin, new Palestinian leader Mahmoud Abbas offered peace to Israel. Israel reportedly welcomed the result and asked Mr Abbas to "clamp down" on Palestinian militants.

Abbas said he wants to meet Israel's Prime Minister Ariel Sharon soon. US President George W. Bush has indicated he will invite Abbas to the United States for talks, something he never did with Abbas's predecessor, the late Yasser Arafat.

The EU monitoring team present during the elections commented on the uniqueness of democratic elections in territory under military occupation. Leaders, including the U.S. president and European Commission president, have praised the election process.

Reports indicate some problems surfaced during the voting.

According to observers, some Palestinians not on the register were allowed to vote while others who believed they were eligible were turned away. Observers also noted registered names were missing from the Jerusalem roll, leading to voters being turned away. Polling was prolonged for two hours due to an influx of late voters.

Preliminary voting results:

Mahmoud Abbas (Abu Mazen): 62.3%

Mustafa Barghouti: 19.8%