Palestine: Abbas wants Qorei to head a new government

Huge posters of candidates invoking visions of an end to &to=http:// ' target=_blank>Israeli occupation fill Palestinian towns on the last day of campaigning for an election of Yasser Arafat's successor, but many voters are yet to be convinced.

Among Palestinians eyeing election regalia carpeting their towns, scepticism seemed to outweigh hope about prospects for a breakthrough toward statehood and peace with moderate &to=http:// ' target=_blank>Mahmoud Abbas on course to a landslide in Sunday's election.

"Talks will resume soon after the elections. The wheels of peace will eventually hit the road," said teacher Abdel-Salam Mohammad, considering what Abbas's rise meant after the death of Arafat, whom Israel boycotted as an alleged obstacle to peace, informs Reuters.

Although the main independent challenger, Mustafa Barghouti, claimed he had enough support to secure the Palestinian Authority presidency, opinion polls pointed to a clear victory for Mahmoud Abbas, candidate of the dominant &to=http:// ' target=_blank>Fatah movement. Latest polls gave him between 59 and 65 per cent of the vote, with a maximum of 28 per cent for Mr Barghouti.

Whoever is declared the winner, in what will be one of the most intensively monitored votes in electoral history, will have the task of trying to revive direct negotiations with Israel, reports Financial Times.

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