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#315: Haiti will postpone elections, official says (fwd)


Haiti will postpone elections, official says 
Philadelphia Inquirer August 22 1999

PORT-AU-PRINCE, Haiti - Haiti probably will not be able to hold
legislative and local elections in November as planned because of delays
in creating regional polling offices and other problems, an electoral
official said Friday.  Macajoux Medard, a member of the nine-member
Provisional Electoral Council, said the delay was caused by holdups in
buying materials and setting up regional election offices. "When we
begin voter registration, then we will be able to fix a firm date,"
Medard said. The elections are seen as an important step in efforts to
establish a stable democracy following decades of dictatorship and
turmoil in the Caribbean nation, the poorest in the Americas. A U.S.-led
intervention force of 20,000 troops helped oust a military junta in
1994, restoring to power the nation's first freely elected leader,
Jean-Bertrand Aristide. There are about four million eligible voters out
of Haiti's 7.5 million population. Sixty percent of the population lives
in rural, mountainous areas, and many doubt the majority can be       
registered in the next few months. Only 5 percent of eligible voters
cast ballots in Haiti's last legislative election in April 1997.