Reporters on the Job

More Hijabs in Politics: Correspondent Ben Lynfield covered the last Palestinian presidential and legislative elections in 1996. While reporting on the results of last week's municipal elections (this page), Ben was struck by the number of women who won seats. He went to the West Bank town of Obadeiah because he'd read that the Islamic militant group Hamas had won seven of 10 seats. "They only had seven candidates so it makes you wonder what might have happened if they'd had 10 candidates," says Ben. But he was also draw by the fact that three women had won seats there. "The Palestinians have have a quota system guaranteeing women two places on each municipal council. If these elections were meant to bring new faces to the Palestinian political scene, I think one of the messages is that some of those faces will be wearing hijabs," says Ben referring to the Islamic head covering worn by women.

Kiev's Tent City: Correspondent Fred Weir spent Sunday visiting polling stations in Kiev, Ukraine, interviewing voters (page 7). "Most said they were hoping this election would give them closure - a feeling that the crisis was over. Most in Kiev think [presidential candidate Viktor] Yushchenko will win," says Fred. Later, he interviewed people still camped in the tent city on a main street in the capital. "There's still about 1,000 people here, mostly students. They don't think this vote will bring closure. They came to Kiev for a revolution and feel that there's more to come," he says.

They told Fred that they'll stay until Yushchenko is inaugurated and outgoing President Leonid Kuchma is in jail. "They're pro-Western, pro-democracy and want to see a sweeping social transformation and the breaking off of relations with Russia. Beyond that there's not a real coherent ideology. They talk about alleviating poverty, free education, and free medical care," says Fred. "I think their welcome is starting wear thin. Local organizations are no longer giving them bread and soup."

David Clark Scott
World editor

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