Barghouti ally wins top spot in Fatah J'lem vote

An ally of Palestinian uprising leader Marwan Barghouti won the top spot in primaries of the Palestinians' ruling Fatah party in Jerusalem, party officials said Wednesday, citing unofficial results. Another contender, Palestinian Authority Chairman Mahmoud Abbas' bureau chief, Rafiq Husseini, came in 20th, not enough to secure a list on Fatah's list of candidates for Jan. 25 parliament elections. The results are in line with voting in several West Bank districts where the Barghouti-led "young guard" has pushed aside corruption-tainted oldtimers. The Islamic militant Hamas is posing a strong challenge to Fatah with its campaign of clean government. The top vote getter in Jerusalem was Hatem Abdel Khader, a Fatah legislator aligned with the imprisoned Barghouti, who is serving five life terms in an Israeli prison for his involvement in attacks that killed four Israelis and a Greek monk. Barghouti won more than 90 percent of the vote in the Ramallah district in primaries held last week.