Some said Yasser Arafat, deceased PLO leader, was an "obstacle to peace." Here's a look at the events since his death leading up to Sunday's election.

Nov. 11: Yasser Arafat, longtime president of the Palestinian Authority, passes away of an unknown illness. Mahmoud Abbas takes over as head of the PLO. Israel and the United States accuse Arafat of backing militant attacks against Israel.

Nov. 21: Colin Powell makes new Mideast efforts and wins Israel’s pledge for a smooth election.

Nov. 22: Abbas named official candidate by ruling Fatah party.

Nov. 25: Marwan Barghouthi, serving five consecutive life terms in an Israeli prison, announces his candidacy under the Fatah party. Move is seen as threat the Abbas campaign.

Dec. 1: Militant Hamas party announces it will boycott the election.

Dec. 12: Barghouthi withdraws name from race, giving Abbas the majority of support. Violence breaks out as Hamas and Fatah militants kill five Israeli soldiers.

Dec. 14: Abbas makes strong comments calling for an end to armed violence.

Dec. 18: Eleven Palestinians killed after Israeli troops raid southern Gaza Strip.

Dec. 23: Palestinians hold local elections, the first in nearly 30 years.

Dec. 25: Seven candidates, including Abbas, start election campaigns for Jan. 9 elections.

Dec. 30: Militants show support for Abbas, whom he calls “freedom fighters.”

Jan. 1: Abbas makes bold criticisms of militants’ use of rocket attacks, which spurs militants to ask for an apology, which Abbas refuses to do. He does say he’d never use forces against them, however.

Jan. 4: Israeli tanks shell kills seven Palestinian children, prompting Abbas to call Israel the “Zionist enemy.”

Jan. 5: Going against Abbas’ request, militans fire rocket barrages into Israel.