Thu Jan 26th, 2006 at 08:31:51 AM EST
3rd Update: 26-1-06; 14:21 MET. Courtesy kcurie's urgings and references:
By Amos Harel, Arnon Regular and Amira Hass, Haaretz Correspondents: Unofficial results in the elections for the Palestinian Legislative Council indicate a crushing victory for Hamas, which seems to have garnered an absolute parliamentary majority after cleaning up in almost every constituency. (...) Final votes announced tonight at 7:00.
I concur with our Mr. kcurie...this is big news. Go to bottom of the thread, where kcurie has given more details of unofficial voting results so far.
2nd Update: 26-1-06, @ 12:42 MET; BBC has this:
Who is Hamas? It looks like Hamas has won. Now what happens?
(From last night): This is a news item, but noteworthy and worth a watch (and I will take some snippets from the longer BBC Online article):
High turnout in Palestinian poll
Voting has been brisk, with turnout at 73%, the election commission said. In the West Bank, 70.6% voted, while in Gaza the figure was 76.8%.
Observers say the elections were peaceful, and one EU official said the vote was an example to the Arab world.
More snippets below...
Update [2006-1-26 4:38:14 by Jerome a Paris]: Bumped by Jérôme. PM Amhed Qorei has just announced his resignation and said that Hamas should form the new government.
Unofficial exit polls suggest militant group Hamas performed well, polling in excess of 30% compared with more than 40% for the ruling Fatah party. But correspondents say the electoral system makes predicting results an almost impossible art.(...)
The atmosphere has been described as festive, with campaign flags, posters and hooting vehicles competing for attention around polling stations. Some party activists in Gaza have been decorating their cars with red carnations as if for a wedding.(...)
Both Fatah and Hamas say they are confident of victory but, with polls suggesting little between them, both have said they will consider a coalition if there is no clear winner. Full results are not expected for another two weeks.(...)
Mr Abbas said he was ready to start peace talks with Israel even if Hamas joined the government.
"We are partners with the Israelis. They don't have the right to choose their partner. But if they are seeking a Palestinian partner, this partner exists," he said.
Hamas' participation in the elections has caused serious concern in Israel, the US and Europe, where it is banned as a terrorist organisation.
Hamas does not recognise Israel and has launched hundreds of attacks against its citizens.(...)
The BBC's James Reynolds, in Jerusalem, says there is real excitement among Palestinians who have waited a long time to pick their parliament.
The election, which has been repeatedly delayed, is the first since 1996.
Man, I don't even know where to start with this issue...but I congratulate the Palestinian people on their vote, and hope I they get what they need, as soon as possible...for if the Palestinian issue could be put to rest, a lot of things could be defused.<imho>