Palestinians Vote in Local Elections Amid Rising Anger with Abbas

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U.S. Vice President Joseph Biden, left, talks with Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas ahead of their meeting in the West Bank city of Ramallah, Wednesday, March 10, 2010. Israel's new plan to build 1,600 homes for Jews in Palestinian-claimed east Jerusalem overshadowed Vice President Joe Biden's visit to the West Bank on Wednesday. Biden was to hold talks with Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas and Prime Minister Salam Fayyad, in part to ease their doubts about the latest U.S. peace efforts. (AP Photo/Tara Todras-Whitehill)

Assessment: Abbas’ rivals, including Hamas, accused him of using the Jerusalem voting dispute as an excuse to cancel elections that polls showed he and his party would lose to the Islamist group …

Palestinians held municipal elections in the West Bank on Saturday in a rare democratic exercise and amid rising anger with President Mahmoud Abbas after he cancelled planned legislative and presidential votes earlier this year.

More than 400,000 Palestinians were eligible to cast ballots for representatives in 154 village councils in the West Bank, where Abbas’ Palestinian Authority has limited self-rule. Municipal votes are typically held every four or five years.

“Because the Lord has sworn: the Lord will have war with Amalek from generation to generation.” Exodus 17:16 

Municipal elections are not being held in Gaza, whose Islamist rulers Hamas are boycotting the vote amid a rift with Abbas’ Fatah party. The 86-year-old president postponed municipal votes in major West Bank cities, such as Ramallah, that could have been seen as a referendum on Abbas’ rule.

“These elections cannot be an alternative to legislative elections,” said Ahmad Issa, 23, outside a polling station in the West Bank village of Bir Nabala, adding that a legislative vote could offer “a horizon for the youth” and lead to reforms.

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