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Palestinians Vote in Municipal Elections Shunned by Hamas

Oct. 20 (Bloomberg) -- Palestinians are voting today to elect officials in 92 municipalities across the West Bank.

About 515,000 Palestinians are registered to vote in the West Bank elections boycotted by Hamas, Hanna Nasser, head of the Palestinian Central Election Commission, said at a conference in Ramallah. The final results are due by Oct. 23.

Voting will not take place in the Gaza Strip, which is controlled by Hamas. Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas, whose Fatah party governs the West Bank, cast his vote and said he hoped future elections will take place as well in Gaza and Jerusalem.

Hamas, which seized full control of Gaza in 2007 after winning parliamentary elections a year earlier, is considered a terrorist organization by Israel, the U.S. and European Union. East Jerusalem, which is sought by the Palestinians as the capital of any future state, is governed by Israel.

To contact the reporters on this story: Sharon Wrobel in Tel Aviv at swrobel4@bloomberg.net; Fadwa Hodali in Jerusalem at fhodali@bloomberg.net

To contact the editor responsible for this story: Dick Schumacher at dschumacher@bloomberg.net

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