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Fatah won 60% of the vote and Hamas a mere 33% in elections for new municipalities and village councils in the West Bank and Gaza Strip held on May 5.

The Election Authority said Fatah had won 50 municipalities, Hamas 28, and three municipalities will be governed by a coalition of Fatah and Hamas, Israel Radio reported.

Hamas and Fatah traded allegations of irregularities and voting fraud as hundreds of thousands of Palestinians headed to the ballot boxes.

Hamas officials claimed that Fatah activists and Palestinian Authority (PA) security officials had attempted to influence voters by putting pressure on them to vote for Fatah candidates in several areas.

Muhammad Ghazal, a senior Hamas official in Nablus, complained that his representatives at polling stations in the Tulkarem area discovered cases of forgery in the voting, especially in the village of Anabta, where the ballot boxes were closed temporarily pending an investigation. He claimed that PA officials had also threatened to cut off social welfare payments from voters who did not cast their ballots for Fatah.

In the village of Abassan in the Gaza Strip, Hamas representatives accused Fatah activists of shooting and wounding Hamas supporter Khaled al-Shaer during a quarrel at one of the polling stations.

Fatah leaders and PA officials, on the other hand, accused Hamas of trying to steal the vote in some areas. They also accused the Israel Defense Force (IDF) of hindering the voting process in some areas in the northern West Bank by preventing voters from reaching polling stations.

Otherwise, no major incidents were registered during the elections for 84 municipal and village councils. About 70% of voters cast their ballots by the time the voting ended at 7.00 p.m. Final results are expected on May 8.