Saturday's municipal election offered Palestinians the chance to cast ballots after more than a decade without presidential or parliamentary votes.
"The election doesn't carry an enormous amount of weight", Al Jazeera's Harry Fawcett, reporting from Ramallah in the West Bank, said. Polls for the 800,000 eligible voters closed at 7:00 p.m. with final results expected on Sunday.
Official figures showed turnout at 53.4 per cent, or almost the same as local elections in the West Bank in 2012, electoral commission chief Hanna Nasser told journalists in Ramallah.
However, since it seized control over the Gaza Strip in 2007, Hamas had refused to take part in any elections saying the internal division should be ended before holding local elections.
Hamas said The Palestinian Authority had made a unilateral decision to go ahead with the vote before an agreement on a legal framework had been reached, following an October ruling from the Palestinian High Court that found the judiciary in Gaza did not have the necessary "guarantees" in place for an election - a decision denounced by Hamas as "political".
In Hebron, the West Bank's largest city, Fatah won just seven of 15 seats. And in Nablus, another major city, Fatah won 11 of 15 seats, but only after forming an alliance with Islamist candidates.
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Fatah's list was notably ahead in the cities of Jenin, Jericho and Hebron.
"The commission will meet with Hamas in Gaza to see if we can hold supplementary elections there so that we would have elections in all parts of the country", he said.
Palestinian prime minister Rami Hamdallah accused Hamas today of sole responsibility for blocking the election in Gaza where he said it maintains a rival government that supports "separation".
Abbas, whose term was meant to end in 2009 but who has remained in office, has grown unpopular among Palestinians, but he remains their leader in the eyes of the world. According to Reuters, it's the first democratic exercise in years.
A man looks for his name on a voter's list at a polling station in the West Bank city of Nablus, Saturday, May 13, 2017.
Palestinians living in Israel-occupied West Bank voted Saturday in the local election, which is boycotted by several Palestinian groups.