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15 May 2017, 11:17 | Clarence Schmidt
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Voter turnout, particularly in major cities, was dismally low, with Nablus barely over 20% turnout, and others all well under 50%, though Fatah insisted it was no worse than 2012.
Palestinians held municipal elections on Saturday in the occupied West Bank. Palestinians choose mayors and local councils in communities across the West Bank, a rare chance to cast ballots after more than a decade without presidential or legislative elections.
The voting on Saturday only took place in the Fatah-controlled West Bank, and not in the Gaza Strip, which is run by Fatah's rival Hamas.
The West Bank and Gaza have not participated in an election together since 2006, when Hamas swept Palestinian parliamentary polls, sparking a conflict that led to near civil war in Gaza the following year.
In Hebron, the West Bank's largest city and a Hamas stronghold, Abbas' party managed to claim seven of 15 seats.
In some areas, voters were presented with a joint list of independent candidates with leanings to both Fatah and Hamas, but these also garnered little support.
"It's important that everyone has a say", but also that those elected "assume the responsibility given to them", said Rami Nazal, a United Nations employee who voted in Ramallah, the seat of the Palestinian Authority.
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The head of the Fatah list in Hebron, Tayseer Abu Sneineh, said their strategy was to pick "qualified candidates" from the tribes.
Official results are expected later Sunday. Hamas spokesman Fawzi Barhoum said it was Fatah who excluded Gaza and Hamas because they were not interested in partnership.
Hamas has rejected the calls for elections saying they will only continue to pull political sensitivities in Palestinian socio-political hemisphere if elections are held before political reconciliation between the two parties.
Abbas's presidential term was meant to end in 2009, but he has remained in office with no elections organised.
"I came to exercise my democratic rights", said Bishara Dabbah, a 55-year-old Ramallah resident.
Samir Beshari, a mechanic leaning on a walking stick as he exited a polling station in central Ramallah, said his choice "wasn't just political", as above all he believed "the winners should look after the city and all its inhabitants".
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