by Chris Bowers, Sun Jan 09, 2005 at 11:26:03 AM EST
Such a margin of victory would give Abbas a clear mandate to renew peace talks with Israel, rein in militants and reform the corruption-riddled Palestinian Authority (news - web sites).
Abbas won 66 percent of the vote while his main challenger, Mustafa Barghouti, won 19.7 percent, according to a poll conducted by the independent Palestinian Center for Policy and Survey Research.
The poll was based on about responses from about 10,000 voters and had an error margin of 3 percentage points.
"This percentage means that Abu Mazen will have the legitimacy to negotiate with the Israelis, and the Palestinian people will accept what Abu Mazen will agree on. He has a mandate from the voters," said the Palestinian policy center's director, Khalil Shekaki.
Abu Mazen is a nickname for Abbas.
A second survey, by An Najah University in the West Bank city of Nablus, showed Abbas winning 69.5 percent, compared with 24.5 percent for Barghouti.
That poll, based on responses by more than 5,000 voters, had an error margin of 5 percentage points.I can't say that I know much about the politics in the region, but I have frequently been frustrated that so many people who do not even live in either Isreal or Palestine seem more intent on arguing over territory than seeing peace. The symbolic damage that the Isreali-Palestinian conflict causes to world politics cannot be overestimated. As long as violent images from the region are spread to hundreds of millions og people worldwide, a large percentage of the world's population will live under the very real threat of reductive identities and violence against civilians in their own countries.