The newly elected city council elected Friday Dr. Victor Battarseh as the mayor of the West Bank city of Bethlehem. Eight council members voted for Battareseh, 6 voted for his competitor Layer Anton Salman, and one council member abstained.

Dr. Battarseh headed the PFLP-affiliated candidates’ list, which won three of the 15 council members. The Hamas-affiliated 5 council members’ vote in favor of Battarseh, ended the competition to his favor.

Hamas decision to vote for Battarseh apparently came after understandings were reached in intensive talks between Hamas and PFLP local leaders.

The only Islamic Jihad council member voted in Favor of Salman, who headed the Fatah-affiliated candidates’ list. Fatah won 4 council seats, and independent candidates won the remaining three seats.