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#858: From SICRAD/CIP (fwd)

From: Max Blanchet <MaxBlanchet@worldnet.att.net>

Election commission persists with get-out-the-vote campaign
Summary of SICRAD report

Report by  Service d'Information du Centre de Recherche et d'Action pour 
le Développement BP 13241, Delmas, Haïti -Tel: 463496, 492242 - Fax: 
492242 Site Internet: http://rehred-haiti.net/membres/crad/sicrad/ 
Courriel: si.crad@rehred-haiti.net 

The get-out-the-vote campaign for the March 2000 elections began 
officially last week in Haiti despite the problems at the official 
launching ceremony on October 24. Many Port-au-Prince streets are 
festooned with banners calling the population to the elections. 
"Elections are the only way to democracy," "I will vote on March 16," 
are some of the slogans. 

The banners strengthen a radio-adverstisement campaign launched by the 
executive some months ago. 

The Provisional Electoral Council (CEP) decided not to stop in its 
tracks after the disturbance at the official launching. The 
demonstrators claimed to be from La Famille Lavalas, the party of former 
president Aristide. They spread panic in the stadium and disrupted the 

Angry reaction has come all week. A delegation of "Fanm Yo La" (Women 
are here), an organization which promotes the participation of women in 
politics, visited the CEP to express its solidarity with CEP member Irma 
Rateua, who was hit with urine in the face. 

The La Famille Lavalas party and the political and popular organizations 
close to it insist that the opposition staged the events of October 24 
in order to tarnish the image of the party. This point of view was 
relayed by the Parti Populaire National (PPN) of Benjamin Dupuy. 

Since the beginning of the electoral process there have been persistent 
rumors that La Famille Lavalas wanted to have general elections at the 
end of the year 2000 instead of the legislative elections scheduled for 
next March. 

But in Trinidad & Tobago, where he was participating in a meeting with 
heads of state of CARICOM, President Préval reaffirmed the government's 
intention of holding honest and credible elections next March. 

"The government does not intend to interfere in issues that are the 
province of the electoral institution," said Préval in noting his wish 
that all Haitians of voting age should have their electoral IDs by the 
date of the vote. 

The president of the CEP, Léon Manus, called the incident "an 
intentional act of sabotage." 

The U.S. ambassador to Port-au-Prince deplored the behavior of the 
demonstrators. "We oppose all forms of intimidation. We support the 
right of all persons to express their poplitical opinions." 

The International Civilian Observers' Mission (MICIVIH) considered the 
incidents to be intensely partisan and auguring poorly for the future of 
the electoral campaign. 

November 1, 1999