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Abbas Wins Palestinian Presidency

The official vote count in Sunday's Palestinian presidential elections confirms that Mahmoud Abbas won a landslide victory with 62.3 percent of votes cast with his closest rival, human rights activist Mustafa Barghouti receiving 19.8 percent.

Mahmoud Abbas's victory was confirmed Monday by the Palestinian Central Election Commission.

The official tally is somewhat lower than what most exit polls were predicting late Sunday. But, it is an impressive win, giving Mr. Abbas a clear mandate to push ahead with his program of political reforms and revitalizing peace efforts with Israel.

His victory has already been hailed by President Bush and other world leaders and received a welcome from Israel. But, Israeli leaders caution without an end to Palestinian militant attacks, there will be no peace talks.

Palestinian voters have had their say. Now comes the challenge for Mr. Abbas to meet their expectations of peace, security and better lives.