Abbas dedicated his victory to Yasser Arafat

Mahmoud Abbas has declared victory in the Palestinian presidential election and dedicated his victory to &to=http:// ' target=_blank>Yasser Arafat, the iconic leader he is replacing.

"We offer this victory to the soul of the brother martyr Yasser Arafat and to all Palestinians," Mr Abbas told a jubilant rally of his Fatah Nationalist Party in the &to=http:// ' target=_blank>West Bank city of Ramallah.

"We also dedicate it to all the martyrs and wounded and prisoners behind [Israeli] bars. The prisoners are celebrating this victory with you [Arafat]."

Mr Abbas, 69, has called for an end to the armed Palestinian uprising and an end to the Israeli occupation, says ABC News.

He pronounced the coming months as "the most fateful" in &to=http:// ' target=_blank>Israeli-Palestinian relations. Katsav said the peace process can be revitalized and the foundations can be laid for the creation of a sovereign independent state of Palestine if the new leader does take action against Palestinian extremist groups.

An exit poll conducted by the independent Palestinian Center for Policy and Survey Research showed that Abbas won 66 percent of the votes in Sunday's Palestinian presidential election, informs Xinhua News.

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