Abbas wins landslide victory

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Artykuł pochodzi z pisma "Guardian"

Abbas wins landslide victory

· Hamas says it will work with Abbas
· Barghouti concedes defeat
· Sharon 'to meet Abbas soon'

Mark Oliver and agencies
Monday January 10, 2005

Mahmoud Abbas won a landslide victory last night in the Palestinian presidential election and was today expected to outline his vision of a post-Yasser Arafat future.
The militant Islamic group Hamas, which boycotted the elections along with another militant group, Islamic Jihad, said today it could work with Mr Abbas, but questioned his real margin of victory and complained of electoral irregularities.
Final results announced today gave Mr Abbas 62% of the vote. Earlier an election official said Mr Abbas's nearest rival, Mustafa Barghouti, had secured 21%, and Mr Barghouti conceded defeat.
Aides of the Israeli prime minister, Ariel Sharon, said he planned to meet Mr Abbas soon. In a first gesture, it emerged that Israel plans to release some of the more than 7,000 Palestinians held in Israeli prisons, officials said on condition of anonymity.
Mr Abbas has promised to seek peace with Israel and analysts said his victory held out the promise of breakthrough in the Middle East peace process after four decades of rule by Mr Arafat, who died on November 11.
However, the new Palestinian leader, who is expected to be inaugurated on Wednesday, has the tough task of reining in powerful armed groups without losing their backing.
In his acceptance speech, Mr Abbas said he faced a difficult mission, but reiterated that he would not go after militants. Instead, he said, he wanted to "give our fugitives a life of dignity", referring to those wanted by Israel. "I present this victory to the soul of Yasser Arafat and present it to our people and to our martyrs," Mr Abbas said.
Most militant groups have indicated they are willing to halt attacks against Israel and give Mr Abbas a chance, although the Lebanese Hizbullah guerrillas, who fund some of the Palestinian militants, are trying to sabotage truce attempts. Yesterday Hizbullah carried out a cross-border attack, setting off an exchange that resulted in the death of an Israeli soldier, a French UN observer and a militant fighter.
The US president, George Bush, praised the election as an "historic" step to statehood and offered Mr Abbas his help in a new push for peace, while calling on Israel to improve the humanitarian situation for Palestinians.
Israel's deputy prime minister, Ehud Olmert, said a Palestinian crackdown on militants was a precondition for any progress in the peace process, including consulting with the Palestinians on the planned withdrawal from the Gaza Strip this summer.
Meanwhile, Mr Sharon, was to convene his new, more moderate cabinet for a first meeting today, in another step toward a Gaza pullback. Mr Sharon's new coalition partners, Shimon Peres's Labour party and a small ultra-Orthodox faction, ensure a parliamentary majority for a Gaza withdrawal, despite opposition from hardliners, including some in Mr Sharon's ruling Likud party.
Mr Peres welcomed Mr Abbas's victory, telling Israeli army radio: "A moderate man was elected, an intelligent man, an experienced man. Let's give him a chance ... there is a new legitimate Palestinian leadership whose leaders definitely are against terror and war."
Mr Barghouti praised the process as a victory for Palestinian democracy, although earlier he had complained that thousands had been unable to vote. The central election commission changed voting procedures midway through the election, keeping polling stations open an additional two hours and allowing voters to cast their ballots at any location, not just in their hometowns.
One election official, speaking on condition of anonymity, said the changes came after heavy pressure from the Fatah movement, to which Mr Abbas belongs, and which feared a low turnout could weaken him in victory.
Final results were expected later today but the exit poll results sent cheering supporters into the streets of the West Bank and Gaza Strip late last night. Gunmen fired in the air, motorists honked horns and members of Fatah, wearing balck and white chequered headbands, danced in the streets.
Many Palestinians had high expectations. "The election is our weapon to change our life," said Souad Radwan, 46, a teacher from the Jabaliya refugee camp in Gaza, whose house was demolished in an Israeli raid. "We are sick of the [Israeli] occupation and this troubled life."
Officials said almost 70% of 1.1 million registered voters cast ballots although a total turnout figure was not given.
The election, the first presidential vote in nine years, proceeded largely without interruption. Many gunmen followed rules barring weapons in voting stations but Zakariye Zubeidi, a militant leader, refused to give up his assault rifle when he walked into a polling station in the West Bank town of Jenin.

acceptance speech- mowa inauguracyjna
announce- ogłaszać
assault rifle- karabin
ballot- kartka do głosowania; głosować
bar- zakazywać, zagradzać
breakthrough- przełom
carry out- wykonywać, przeprowadzać
cheer- dopingować
chequered- kraciasty
concede- przyznawać, uznawać
convene- zwoływać
crackdown- obostrzenia, sankcje
demolish- burzyć
emerge- wyłaniać się
faction- frakcja, odłam
fugitive- uchodźca
hardliner- przeciwnik reform, twardogłowy
honk- trąbić
horn- klakson
indicate- wskazywać
irregularity- nieprawidłowość
landslide victory- miażdżące zwycięstwo
martyr- męczennik
moderate- umiarkowany
outline- szkicować
polling station- lokal wyborczy
precondition- warunek wstępny
proceed- działać, przeprowadzać
raid- atak, nalot
rein in- trzymać w ryzach, ściągnąć lejce
reiterate- powtarzać (szereg razy)
release- zwalniać, oswobodzić
set off- wyruszać
statehood- państwowość
supporter- zwolennik
truce- rozejm, zawieszenie broni
turnout- frekwencja, widownia
withdrawal- wycofanie


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