Imprisoned Palestinian

Heads for Political Win

JERUSALEM -- Marwan Barghouti, a jailed Palestinian leader, appeared headed for victory in the Fatah party primary along with a number of his followers, according to preliminary results released Saturday.

Barghouti, 46, is highly popular among young Palestinians active in the most recent intifada, who view the older generation running the largest Palestinian party as corrupt and out of touch with popular sentiment. Barghouti, serving five life sentences in an Israeli prison, appeared to secure a place on the candidate list in Ramallah, as did a number of his followers. Israeli officials have said repeatedly that he will not be released from prison.

Mahmoud Abbas, president of the Palestinian Authority, allowed the first-ever party primaries in order to give the younger generation of political activists more influence in selecting candidates for the Jan. 25 parliamentary elections. The election will be the first national vote in which the Islamic Resistance Movement, or Hamas, Fatah's chief opposition, plans to compete.

-- Scott Wilson

AFRICA

* HARARE, Zimbabwe -- Embattled Zimbabweans showed little enthusiasm for a new Senate election, forming longer lines in some areas to buy scarce food supplies than to vote for a body criticized as a ploy to strengthen President Robert Mugabe's grip on power.

The election has divided the main opposition party, with one faction calling for a boycott. Opposition leader Morgan Tsvangirai argued that participation would lend credibility to a flawed electoral process. But senior members of his Movement for Democratic Change rejected his boycott call and fielded 26 candidates.

THE MIDDLE EAST

* BEHEIRA, Egypt -- The outlawed Muslim Brotherhood captured at least 25 more seats in Egypt's parliament in a runoff vote, despite what appeared to be a determined government effort to block its supporters and slow the Islamic-based organization's building momentum.

The preliminary Interior Ministry figures released early Sunday showed the Brotherhood increasing its share in parliament to at least 72 seats, a more than fourfold jump over its representation in the outgoing parliament -- with a third stage of voting set for Dec. 1 and another runoff likely six days after that.

The outcome, if it becomes final, would give the Brotherhood enough seats to nominate a presidential candidate in 2011 under new constitutional rules.

* DUBAI, United Arab Emirates -- More than two dozen gay Arab men -- arrested at what police called a mass homosexual wedding -- could face government-ordered hormone treatments, five years in jail and a lashing, authorities said. The Interior Ministry said police raided a hotel this month and arrested 22 men as they celebrated the wedding ceremony.

ASIA

* MOSCOW -- Thousands of demonstrators in Azerbaijan, protesting what they called fraudulent parliamentary elections and vowing to occupy downtown Baku, were beaten back by police wielding truncheons and water cannons. Witnesses said hundreds of protesters were injured, along with at least 26 policemen.

-- From Staff Reports

and News Services