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#4013: Aristide's party scores more wins in Haiti vote (fwd)
From: Rosann Clements <firstname.lastname@example.org>
May 31, 22:38 EDT
Aristide's party scores more wins in Haiti vote
PORT-AU-PRINCE, Haiti (Reuters) - Lavalas Family, party of former president
Jean-Bertrand Aristide, strengthened its grip on Parliament with strong
election results in Haiti's heavily populated capital, according to vote
tallies announced Wednesday.
The Provisional Electoral Council (CEP) released results from the West
Department, which encompasses the capital Port-au-Prince, home to some two
million of Haiti's 7.5 million people. The results fortified an apparent
landslide for Lavalas Family in national elections held May 21.
Coupled with results announced Monday for much of the rest of the country,
the latest tallies gave Lavalas Family outright victories for 16 of 19
senate seats contested in the May 21 election.
Lavalas Family also has won 23 of 83 seats in the Chamber of Deputies - the
lower house in Haiti's bicameral Parliament - according to the Provisional
Electoral Council. More than 50 chamber seats will be decided in runoff
elections June 25.
Elections have still not been held in Grande Anse, one of Haiti's nine
geographic regions, or states, due to partisan bickering. Grande Anse has
two senate seats and 11 deputy seats open.
Aristide, a former Roman Catholic priest who was elected president in 1990
and remains Haiti's most popular politician, is widely expected to run for
and retake the presidency later this year. Controlling Parliament in
anticipation of his return was at the heart of Lavalas Family's campaign.
The United States led an international invasion of Haiti in 1994 to restore
Aristide, who was ousted in a military coup three years earlier.
Haiti is struggling to establish a stable democracy following decades of
dictatorship. The May 21 elections were its first in more than three years.
The vote, marred by chaotic scenes and long lines at polling stations, were
declared flawed but fair by international elections observers. But some
opposition parties have dropped out of the balloting, calling the vote
The results announced by the CEP Wednesday for the West Department gave its
two available senate seats to Aristide allies Dany Toussaint and Yvon
Neptune. Lavalas Family also won outright 11 of the 13 Chamber of Deputies
seats for the West Department.
The elections were considered critical for re-establishing Parliament, which
President Rene Preval dissolved in January 1999 to end a lengthy political
stalemate. Preval has been ruling by decree since.