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#207: Haiti Law Clears Way for Elections (fwd)


Tuesday July 20 6:56 PM ET 
Haiti Law Clears Way for Elections

PORT-AU-PRINCE, Haiti (AP) - Revised voter laws went into effect
Tuesday, clearing the way for elections aimed at resolving Haiti's
two-year political stalemate.President Rene Preval and the nine-member
provisional electoral council signed the measure Friday and it became
official Tuesday with its publication in the government gazette.
The 200-article document lays out how local and legislative elections
will be organized and supervised in November and December.The new laws
nullify the results of controversial 1997 elections that were at the
root of the power struggle that has paralyzed Haiti since Premier Rosny
Smarth resigned in June 1997.Smarth's party accused Preval of complicity
in rigging the elections to favor the party of the president's mentor,
former President Jean-Bertrand Aristide. Two Aristide candidates won
senate seats in those elections.The entire 83-seat lower house, 19 seats
of the 27-seat upper house, 133 mayoral posts, and hundreds of local
consultative assemblies will be contested in the upcoming vote.
``We've moved ahead, but we've still got a long way to go to the ballot
box and getting the voter to vote,'' socialist party spokesman Mischa
Gaillard told The Associated Press.The international community had been
waiting on the bylaws before committing money to help the electoral