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Voting Extended in Palestinian Presidential Election


Voting in Sunday's Palestinian presidential election was extended on Sunday amid charges that some voters are being held up by Israeli checkpoints.

Palestinian election officials gave voters an extra two hours to reach polling sites in the West Bank, Gaza and East Jerusalem.

At least 1.8 million Palestinians are eligible to vote but early exit polls suggest turnout has been low.

Officials claim Israeli security checkpoints are keeping thousands of voters from participating in the presidential election.

Israeli foreign minister, Silvan Shalom, says Israel has not interfered with the election.

"We don't see why we should intervene. We should do everything we can to give them the possibility to have their own elections," he said.

International monitors say the elections are proceeding without serious disturbances.

Former Prime Minister Mahmoud Abbas is widely expected to win the race.

First early returns are expected a few hours after the polls close.