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Hamas Reportedly Wins Landslide Victory In Palestine

Voting in Gaza City on 25 January in Palestine (epa) 26 January 2006 -- The Islamic militant movement Hamas says it has won an absolute majority in the 25 January Palestinian parliamentary elections.

Official election results are to be announced later today. But the spokesman of the Islamist militant group, Sami Abu Zuhrin, said Hamas has won up to 75 of the 132 seats of the Palestinian Legislative Council.

Zuhrin also said Hamas will begin consultations with Palestinian Authority President Mahmud Abbas and his Fatah movement to discuss the future government.

Meanwhile, Palestinian Prime Minister Ahmed Qurei announced his cabinet's resignation. "I sent my resignation to the President [of the Palestinian Authority Mahmud Abbas] to enable him to choose a new prime minister," he said.

Abbas later announced that he has accepted Qurei's resignation.

Israeli acting Prime Minister Ehud Olmert said today that the Jewish state cannot accept a Palestinian government in which Hamas has a role.

The United States has warned it would not negotiate with Hamas, which it considers a terrorist group.

But EU External Relations Commissioner Benita Ferrero-Waldner said today that the EU is ready to work with any Palestinian government as long as it intends to pursue a peaceful solution of the Middle East conflict.

(compiled from agency reports)