[Date Prev][Date Next][Thread Prev][Thread Next][Date Index][Thread Index]

#686: Haiti Announces Election Dates (fwd)


Wednesday October 6 8:55 PM ET _____ Haiti Announces Election Dates
By MICHAEL NORTON Associated Press Writer 

PORT-AU-PRINCE, Haiti (AP) - Haiti will hold its long-delayed local and
legislative elections in two rounds on March 19 and April 30, the
provisional electoral council announced Wednesday.The entire 83-seat
lower house, 19 seats in the 27-seat upper house, 133 municipal
councils, and hundreds of local and consultative assemblies will be
filled. More than half of Haiti's 8 million people are eligible to vote.
The elections have been postponed three times. Officials first said
elections would be in November,then pushed them back to January.
Officials blamed the postponements on accumulated delays in      
writing election bylaws and hiring election officials, as well as the
precaution to avoid end-of-year and March carnival festivities.There
will be a second-round of balloting for parliamentary posts if no
candidate wins more than 50 percent of total first-round votes. Local
posts will be won with a simple majority.President Rene Preval had
dismissed the former parliament in March and unconstitutionally      
appointed a new premier and a nine-member council by decree.`We want to
return to constitutional norms,'' Premier Jacques-Edouard Alexis said at
a Wednesday news conference. ``We don't want to prolong the government's
term of office.''The electoral council did not say when the new
parliament, which will confirm a new premier and ministers, would be
installed.Candidates will declare their candidacies between Nov. 15 and
Dec. 10. The council will announce the validated list of candidates
between Dec. 26 and Jan. 4.There are more than 50 registered Haitian
political parties. An estimated 50,000 candidates will run for local
offices alone. The United States has earmarked $10 million to $15
million for electoral assistance. Last month, the U.S. Agency for
International Development disbursed $3.5 million to pay for photo voter
identity cards.