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Last Updated: Sunday, 9 January, 2005, 17:37 GMT
In pictures: Palestinians vote
Palestinian woman with her baby on her way to vote walks by Palestinian policemen in the West Bank town of Abu Dis
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Palestinians have been going to the polls to choose a successor to Yasser Arafat, who died in a Paris hospital in November.
Palestinians boy looks from a vehicle covered with campaign posters of presidential candidate Mahmoud Abbas,  Abu Dis, West Bank
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Former Prime Minister Mahmoud Abbas, candidate of the main Fatah party, is the clear favourite out of seven hopefuls.
Palestinian presidential candidate Mahmoud Abbas, followed by his wife Amina (left) leaves the Muqataa polling station in Ramallah
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Mr Abbas, also known as Abu Mazen, was upbeat about Palestinian hopes for democracy as he voted in Ramallah in the West Bank with his wife (pictured behind him).
A Palestinian prepares his vote behind a polling booth in the village of Ain Ariq on the outskirts of Ramallah
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Many Palestinians see the vote as a forgone conclusion - but analysts say Mr Abbas will need a clear mandate if he is to make progress towards peace talks with Israel.
Palestinian voters from the West Bank town of Baqa al-Shrqiya
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This is the first time Palestinians have voted for a leader since 1996. Arafat's death has raised hopes for progress on peace.
Voters in Jenin from the al-Aqsa Martyrs' Brigades
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Mr Abbas has said he is hopeful of persuading militants, like these voters in Jenin from the al-Aqsa Martyrs' Brigades, to agree to a ceasefire.
Candidate Mustafa Barghouti and former US presidential candidate John Kerry outside a polling station in Ramallah
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Hundreds of foreign observers were monitoring the poll, including high-profile figures like former US presidential candidate John Kerry - talking here to independent candidate Mustafa Barghouti.
Palestinians line up to cast their ballots at the start of voting at a polling station in Hawarra, West Bank
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Polling was extended by two hours because voters were being held up at Israeli army checkpoints.




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