Thursday, January 26, 2006

Hamas Wins

The Palestinian PM and cabinet have conceded that Fatah -- Palestine's majority party -- has indeed lost to Hamas. Via the Guardian:
Results are not due until this evening, but a senior official for Fatah - the formerly dominant force in Palestinian politics - conceded that the party had lost its majority in parliament.

The prime minister, Ahmed Qureia, said the Palestinian president, Mahmoud Abbas, would have to ask Hamas to form the next government.

"This is the choice of the people. It should be respected," Mr Qureia said as he announced his resignation.

Polls predicted a Hamas-Fatah coalition as the most likely outcome of the vote, but officials from both parties give Hamas between 70 and 75 MPs in the 132-seat parliament.
WaPo has more coverage here.

Whether or not this will be a tectonic shift in Israeli-Palestinian politics owes largely to whether Hamas will moderate its view of Israel and concede it has the right to exist. But don't bet on it. Hamas may take their victory as evidence they now have a mandate and that the Palestinian people want the destruction of Israel. Let's hope they don't spend this political capital wildly.

For a roundup of the international media's view of these historic elections check out WaPo blogger Jefferson Morley.