Hamas shocks Palestinians

The &to=http://english.pravda.ru/hotspots/2001/09/09/14657.html' target=_blank>Islamic Hamas won a landslide victory in parliamentary elections, officials announced Thursday, as Palestinian voters rejected the longtime rule of the Fatah Party, throwing the future of Mideast peacemaking into question.

Hamas won 76 seats in the 132-member parliament, compared to 43 seats for &to=http://english.pravda.ru/main/2002/09/11/36337.html' target=_blank>Fatah, the Central Election Commission announced, with 95 percent of the votes counted. Smaller parties and independents, including three backed by Hamas, won the 13 remaining seats.

Palestinian leaders, stunned by the militant group's sweeping victory, huddled to determine the shape of a new government as world leaders insisted Hamas renounce violence and recognize Israel's right to exist.

Israeli politicians from across the political spectrum said there could be no relations with a group that has been responsible for scores of deadly attacks against Israelis and is listed as a terror organization by the United States and the European Union.

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