In this handout photo provided by the Palestinian Press Office (PPO), Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas (L) votes in the municipal elections October 20, 2012 in Ramallah, West Bank. In their first chance to cast ballots in six years, Palestinians voted for mayors and local councils in 93 communities across the West Bank.
Credit: Thaer Ghanaim

Palestine's local elections were a split vote, with ruling party Fatah losing its grip in five of the region's 11 main communities, officials reported Sunday.

Though the official election results will not be released until late Sunday or early Monday, early results reported by voting regulators saw Fatah wining local council majorities in the towns of Hebron, Qalqiliya, Tulkarem, Jericho, Salfit and El Bireh, the Associated Press reported.

However, independents and Fatah break-off candidates made a strong showing in towns like Nablus, Ramallah, Jenin and Tubas. Leftist and independent candidates garnered wins in Bethlehem, according to the AP. 

More from GlobalPost: Palestinians vote in first local elections since 2005

Fatah claimed victory in most of the West Bank, whose elections were boycotted by the Hamas party.

"We consider the victory as a major popular referendum on the movement's political program and its national performance," a statement from Fatah spokesman Ahmad Assaf said on Sunday, Al Jazeera reported

Of the West Bank's over 500,000 voters, 54.8 percent turned out to cast a ballot, according to Central Elections Commission (CEC) President Hanna Nasser. 

The elections, the first at the local level since 2005, were held in 93 of Palestine's 354 municipalities, the Business Recorder reported. In an additional 179 regions, candidates were appointed unopposed. The other 82 areas' elections will be held on November 24, according to the CEC. 

[View the story "Palestine votes in municipal elections" on Storify]

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