About one month ahead of the Palestinian Authority general elections, Hamas presented an impressive show of force in the local elections held Thursday.
In Jenin, Nablus and al-Bireh, Hamas defeated the Fatah. It appears that in Ramallah the elections were won by representatives of the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine.
In Nablus, Hamas won 73 percent of the votes, and in al-Bireh the organization received 72 percent of the votes.
The significance of the results is that representatives of the armed groups have apparently gained victory in all of the four big cities, while Palestinian Authority Chairman Mahmoud Abbas' movement has been defeated.
Harsh blow to Fatah
The election committee postponed the elections in the cities of Gaza and Hebron due to technical and security issues. However, sources in the Authority estimated that the delay was announced in order to prevent a Fatah defeat and a Hamas victory.
In the last elections round, Hamas and the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine won the elections in Bethlehem and Beit Jala, while the Fatah only won in one big city – Beit Sahur, near Bethlehem.
Fatah officials have refused to refer to the results before there are officially published, but sources in the movement said that while most of the movements, particularly Hamas, presented a united front, Fatah was split. In Nablus, for example, the movement ran in three different lists.
If the initial reports match the final election results, they will represent a harsh blow to the Fatah only a few weeks before the general elections, which would guarantee a very tense election campaign.