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Fatah Leads Hamas In Palestinian Municipal Poll

Preliminary results from Thursday's Palestinian municipal elections indicate the ruling Fatah movement has taken a commanding lead, despite a strong showing by the radical Hamas Movement.

With more than 60 percent of the ballots counted, election officials say Fatah has won about 60 percent of the 84 councils across the West Bank and Gaza Strip. Hamas has won about 30 percent.

The election is being seen as a popularity contest between the mainstream Fatah faction headed by Palestinian leader Mahmoud Abbas and Hamas.

Hamas recorded a landslide victory in local elections in Gaza in January, raising the militant group's prospects in upcoming legislative elections. Hamas is preparing to participate for the first time in the parliamentary vote set for July.

Some information for this report provided by AFP, AP and Reuters.