Ruling Fatah party has weak showing in Palestinian election

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(AP) — Preliminary results in Palestinian municipal elections in the West Bank indicate a weak showing by the ruling Fatah Party of President Mahmoud Abbas, even though the rival Islamic Hamas movement stayed out of the race.

The vote provided Palestinians a rare chance to cast ballots after over a decade without presidential or legislative elections, and Saturday’s election was seen as a test for Abbas’ embattled and nepotism-tainted party.

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In Hebron, the West Bank’s largest city, Fatah won just seven of 15 seats. And in Nablus, another major city, Fatah won 11 of 15 seats, but only after forming an alliance with Islamist candidates. Turnout in Nablus was just 21 percent.

Fatah’s popularity has been hurt by a weak economy and frozen peace efforts.

Official results are expected later Sunday.

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