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January 26, 2006

A HAMAS VICTORY in the Palestinian elections:

The Islamic militant group Hamas captured a large majority of seats in Palestinian legislative elections, officials in Hamas and the ruling Fatah Party said Thursday - a devastating upset that is sure to throw Mideast peacemaking into turmoil.

Palestinian Prime Minister Ahmed Qureia and his cabinet ministers submitted their resignations to Palestinian leader Mahmoud Abbas on Thursday. "This is the choice of the people. It should be respected," Qureia said. "If it's true (the results), then the president should ask Hamas to form a new government. For me, personally, I sent my resignation."

Patrick Belton, who's been there covering the race for OxBlog writes:

It's not clear anyone wanted this, least of all Hamas, who in assuming the administration of the Palestinian national authority's creaking and often corrupt bureaucracy single-handed in a moment when its sole lifeline of European and other international support appears threatened, may just have stumbled into the biggest molasses patch the Harakat al-Muqawamah al-Islamiyyah has ever faced. Unlike the Lib Dems of 1985, Hamas did not go to its constituencies to prepare for government. It had prepared for a coalition, or possibly pristine opposition, but not this.

Read the whole thing, and here's a blog-roundup from PJ Media.

UPDATE: Ed Morrissey is depressed about the results.