9 January 2005 -- Mahmud Abbas appeared headed for a landslide victory in the Palestinian presidential election today.
Unofficial exit polls of the just-concluded balloting show Abbas winning more than two-thirds of the votes to succeed the late leader Yasser Arafat.
Abbas has called for an end to armed struggle and said he wants to revive peace talks with Israel.
Victory for Abbas, the candidate of the dominant Fatah movement, had been widely anticipated.
A poll by the independent Palestinian Center for Policy and Survey Research in Ramallah gave Abbas 66.3 percent, compared to 19.7 percent for his main rival Mustafa Barghouthi. Five other candidates shared the rest of the vote.
The official results are scheduled to be announced tomorrow.