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Yasser Arafat

Arafat heading for landslide victory

January 20, 1996
Web posted at: 8:50 p.m. EST (0150 GMT)

RAMALLAH, West Bank (CNN) -- PLO Chairman Yasser Arafat is headed for a landslide victory in the first general elections in the Palestinian self-ruled areas.

With 60 percent of the votes counted, Arafat was said to have secured more than 85 percent of the votes, and was well on his way to becoming the first president of the Palestinian Authority. His sole opponent, social worker Samiha Khalil, had picked up 10 percent of the votes. Counting was still on, and a final tally was expected Sunday.

Voter

Palestinians also voted for an 88-member Palestinian Council, choosing from 672 candidates. Results from those races were also expected Sunday.

More than 80 percent of the 1 million eligible Palestinian voters cast ballots in the historic exercise, which began early Saturday morning. Turnout was particularly high in the West Bank and Gaza Strip, but there was less enthusiasm in Hebron and Jerusalem, election observers said.



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