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BREAKING NEWS ~ Exit polls say Abbas wins Palestinian vote, but rights group taking election commission to court

[JURIST] Two exit polls taken of voters in Palestine's presidential election indicate Mahmoud Abbas (official campaign website here) has won a landslide victory, taking at least 66% of the vote. AP has more. The official count is now underway after polls closed at 9 PM local time (2 PM ET).

4:48 PM ET - Abbas has now declared victory in the poll, addressing a Fatah rally in his home city of Ramallah on the West Bank. From Israel, Haaretz has more. There are, however. late reports of voter fraud, and the Palestinian Center for Human Rights has petitioned the special Palestinian Election Appeals Court against the Central Elections Commission decision earlier in the day to extend the polling by two hours, at the same time allowing voters to vote solely based on their identity cards, without having their names checked against the voter roll or population registry. The appeal will be heard Monday morning. Read the PCHR press release here.

5:33 PM ET - The Central Elections Commission has released preliminary voting figures:

A total of around 700,000 registered voters were joined at the polls by around 70,000 unregistered voters, including 30,000 who registered on arrival at the polling centres on election day.

Despite the efforts made by the CEC to include unregistered voters in the poll, ultimately less than ten per cent of all votes cast fell into this category. While the CEC acknowledges that the conduct of the poll has been less than ideal, with the addition of unregistered voters causing some confusion and potential for error, it remains convinced that a legitimate result will emerge from the votes cast.
Read the full CEC press release here. The Commission says it will investigate all complaints and will not declare a final result until they are investigated.

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