Sunday, January 09, 2005

Abbas Elected

As expected, Mahmud Abbas was elected President of the Palestinian Authority yesterday, getting close to 70% of the vote according to exit polls. He has set himself up as continuing Arafat's legacy, dedicating his victory to him. Israeli officials, however, immediately raised the issue of fighting terrorism, which is all they really want from a Palestinian leader. Abbas still lacks street cred and voter turnout was low, but he can now claim to speak for the Palestinian nation. An interesting note: In his victory comments he referred to a "life in dignity" for "fugitives." If that is a right-of-return reference, it doesn't really mean he'll stand up for the right of return, about which he has long been skeptical anyway.

UPDATE: Al-Jazeera suggests turnout varied by locality.


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