RAMALLAH, October 21 (JMCC) - Electoral lists backed by Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas' Fateh faction lost in Saturday local council elections in five out of eleven West Bank towns, reported the
Associated Press Sunday.
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 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.
Fatah spokesman Ahmed Assad claimed Sunday that the results, also reported in the local media, signalled "huge support for the party and its program."
However, analysts portrayed the outcome as a blow to Abbas and Fatah's leadership. "The elections reflected people's disappointment in the leadership's ability to lead them to a common goal," said pollster Nader Said.
Elections were held in 93 West Bank towns and villages, with close to 55 per cent of 505,000 eligible voters casting ballots, election officials said.