Source Pravda.Ru

Hamas` electoral success: causes and trends

Hamas, the militant Islamic movement, appeared to be headed for fresh gains yesterday as the latest round of Palestinian local elections provided a dress rehearsal for a parliamentary poll this summer that is expected to undermine the dominance of the ruling &to=http:// english.pravda.ru/hotspots/2002/06/13/30299.html ' target=_blank>Fatah party.

Palestinians voted in 84 constituencies across the West Bank and Gaza Strip after an earlier round of municipal elections in January saw the Islamists gain control of a majority of the municipal councils they contested.

Political analysts put Hamas's gains down to a widespread protest vote against Fatah, a party identified with corruption and inefficiency in the Palestinian Authority during the lifetime of its former leader, the late Yassir Arafat.

In February Hamas signed up to a ceasefire with Israel, brokered by &to=http:// english.pravda.ru/mailbox/22/101/399/14946_.html ' target=_blank>Mahmoud Abbas, Mr Arafat's successor as PA president. It will be standing in national elections for the first time when Palestinians vote for a new parliament on July 17.

Nowhere did Hamas face a steeper uphill struggle yesterday than in Beit Jala, part of the so-called Christian triangle south of Jerusalem. The Islamists fielded three candidates in the predominantly Greek Orthodox town on a euphemistically named Reconciliation Movement list, reports FT News.

An explosion of household gas occurred in a nine-storeyed apartment building in the city of Shakhty, the Rostov region of Russia. The blast destroyed two storeys of the building

Another apartment building explodes in Russia. Several people killed

An explosion of household gas occurred in a nine-storeyed apartment building in the city of Shakhty, the Rostov region of Russia. The blast destroyed two storeys of the building

Another apartment building explodes in Russia. Several people killed