Palestinian election commission issues final count; court rejects election appeal Bernard Hibbitts at 4:41 PM ET
[JURIST] The Palestinian Central Election Commission [official website] Monday issued provisional final results for Sunday's presidential election, awarding victory to PLO chairman Mahmoud Abbas with 62.32% of the vote, far ahead of second place human right activist Mustafa Barghouti, who received 19.80%. The margin of Abbas's victory was only slightly less than exit polls had predicted Sunday night when Abbas claimed victory. Emphasizing the still-provisional nature of the returns subject to complaints (as reported Sunday in JURIST's Paper Chase) the Commission noted that "Israeli forces which continue to occupy Palestine imposed huge obstacles to the participation of Jerusalemite citizens in the elections" and also acknowledged that it received "thousands of telephone calls from individuals whose names appear on the civil register, but who were unable to locate their polling centers", calls which led the Commission controversially to allow individuals to vote with alternate identifications standards lest they be completely deprived of their right to vote. Read the full text of the CEC press release. Meanwhile the Palestinian Election Appeals Court Monday rejected an application by the Palestinian Center for Human Rights against the Election Commission's decision to extend polling hours and loosen identity requirements, citing lack of written evidence and lack of Commission response to the Center's original complaint. After the ruling the Center issued this statement:
Even though the decision taken by the CEC did not essentially damage the results of the elections, PCHR asserts that the decision violates provisions of Law 13 of 1995 Relating to the Elections, and damaged the electoral process, especially in the evening in polling centers designed for the electors whose names are registered in the civil register.
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