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West Bank Palestinians Vote in Local Elections - 2004-12-23


Palestinians in the West Bank are voting in local council elections for the first time since 1976.

More than 140-thousand Palestinians are eligible to cast ballots in 26 communities, including the town of Jericho, in today's (Thursday's) voting. More than 800 people are running for local offices.

Palestinian Prime Minister Ahmed Qureia described the vote as the first step toward establishing a Palestinian state. Mr. Qureia cast his vote in Abu Dis, near Jerusalem,

Another round of voting in other communities is set for early next year, after presidential elections that are scheduled for January ninth.

The vast majority of candidates in the local elections are members of the mainstream Fatah party. Results from today's elections are not expected until the end of the week.

Information for this story is provided by AP and Reuters

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