Mahmoud Abbas, aka Abu Mazen, Fatah’s candidate in yesterday’s PA elections for the Chairmanship, won with 65% of the vote. Ok, mazel tov and stuff, but when I urged the Palestinians to vote and vote often I was, you know, kidding. During the period that ballot boxes were open, the PA Central Election Committee decided to allow Palestinians who had not registered as voters to cast their ballots. According to Palestinian human rights activists , this served to allow some folks to vote up to 4 or 5 times. Second place finisher Mustafa Barghouti, running as an independent, claimed that the ink used in some polling stations to mark voters’ thumbnails could be easily removed thus also allowing multiple votes per voter. Oh well, no one really seems to care as Abbas’ victory was pretty much taken for granted, especially after Marwan Barghouti was “convinced” to bow out of the race.
Now we can look forward to the release of Palestinian prisoners from Israeli jails if Abbas cracks down on Palestinian rocket attacks. Unamed Israeli sources told AP that “the Israeli side would propose to Abbas that his security forces close Palestinian metal workshops and explosives labs producing the projectiles. Israeli intelligence would identify the targets for the Palestinian forces …” I hope that works out and all but I remain underwhelmed and skeptical.