Initial results for Saturday’s local elections in the West Bank showed that the ruling Fatah faction won many municipalities and local councils, but it was not a landslide victory as its leaders had expected.

Still, Fatah officials described the results as a “huge victory,” saying its faction continues to enjoy the backing of a majority of Palestinians.

The officials also said that they consider the results of the vote as a vote of confidence in Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas and his policies.

Hamas, Fatah’s main rival, boycotted the elections and banned the PA from holding the vote in the Gaza Strip.

“Fatah ran in the elections against itself and its political allies and not against its political rivals,” said Nabil Amr, a senior Fatah official.

He said that internal squabbling had once again had a negative impact on the faction’s performance in the elections.

Internal differences were one of the main reasons why Fatah lost the 2006 parliamentary election to Hamas.

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