News In Brief

By , Judy Nichols, Noel Paul, and Sara Steindorf

Facing mounting evidence of corruption in his government, President Alberto Fujimori stunned Peruvians by announcing a new national election in which he would not run. The move came a day after a newscast showed video of the government's secret service chief allegedly bribing an opposition member of Congress to support Fujimori. It was not known when the election would be held or whether Fujimori would step down beforehand. Opposition leader Alejandro Toledo, who forced a May runoff against Fujimori only to boycott it, said he would be a candidate.

Last week's nationwide fuel-price protest has dropped British Prime Minister Tony Blair and his Labour Party behind the opposition Conservatives for the first time in eight years, a new opinion poll showed. The Sunday News of the World said 38 percent of respondents would vote for the Tories vs. 36 percent who'd remain loyal to Labour if an election were held now. Last month, the same poll gave Labour a 51 percent to 29 percent edge. In a second poll, published in The Sunday Times, 73 percent said Blair was "arrogant" for refusing to lower fuel taxes.

In the largest rally to date in Yugoslavia's presidential campaign, an estimated 30,000 people turned out to see opposition candidate Vojislav Kostunica warn that "thugs and liars" will try to steal next Sunday's vote for incumbent Slobodan Milosevic. And in Montenegro, the smaller of the nation's two remaining republics, the chairman of parliament said "it would be worth looking into" ending the planned boycott of the election if Kostunica forces a runoff against Milosevic. Meanwhile, Milosevic, who rarely is seen in public, made his second campaign appearance in four days.

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Adding fuel to speculation that the ruling junta in Burma (Myanmar) will shut down opposition leader Aung San Suu Kyi's political party by year's end, an official government newspaper called it "mean and evil" and said it should be eliminated. The newspaper said "it is time" Suu Kyi's National League for Democracy (NLD) was put out of business before the 1991 Nobel Peace Prize winner became more daring. The NLD vowed Saturday to draft a new national constitution in defiance of the military government.

For the first time in at least 50 years, Egyptians will vote for members of parliament under the supervision of the nation's judges, President Mubarak announced. The election will be held in three stages: Oct. 18 and 29 and Nov. 8. The judiciary has a reputation for independence, although analysts said Mubarak's National Democratic Party is certain to maintain its huge majority anyway. In 1995, it won 94 percent of parliament's 444 seats in an election widely seen as rigged. All recent elections have been monitored by civil servants.

(c) Copyright 2000. The Christian Science Publishing Society

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