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#4134: Haiti election officials say results not final (fwd)


WIRE:06/06/2000 20:12:00 ET
 Haiti election officials say results not
PORT-AU-PRINCE, Haiti, June 6 (Reuters) - Haiti's election  supervisors
cautioned in a letter to international observers on  Tuesday that
disputed Senate election results were only partial  and preliminary, but
said they  were nonetheless honest.  "None of the senators have been 
elected yet," the letter from the Provisional Electoral  Council (CEP)
said. "The partial results were published, but no definitive results
have been proclaimed." The letter written by CEP President Leon Manus
was  sent to  election observers with the Organisation of American
States  (OAS), who alleged earlier in the      week that voting
percentages  in the May 21 first-round elections were
miscalculated.Election results announced last week indicated that the
ruling Lavalas Family, the party of former President Jean-Bertrand
Aristide, was headed to a landslide victory.  Lavalas Family won
outright 16 of the 19 Senate seats contested  in the election and 23 of
83 seats in the Chamber of Deputies,according to preliminary results
from the CEP. More than 50 deputy seats appeared headed for runoffs on 
June 25 because no candidate won an outright majority of  first-round
votes. Elections still have not been held in Grand  Anse, one of Haiti's
nine geographic departments, due to  partisan bickering.  The May
election, Haiti's first national vote in more than  three years, was
considered a critical step in the Caribbean  nation's struggle to build
a stable democracy after decades of  dictatorship and military         
rule. The vote was postponed four times due to the  logistical problem
of registering 4 million  voters in a nation of 7.5 million people.    
The election aimed to fill 19 of the 27 Senate seats and all  83 seats
in the Chamber of Deputies as well as thousands of  municipal posts.   
Candidates needed 50 percent of the vote plus one to win the  election
outright. OAS observers said they analysed the election  data and found
the calculations  had been conducted incorrectly,  with only votes for  
the top few candidates tallied to determine  whether the 50 percent
threshold had been reached.  In some races there were 20 to 30
candidates, meaning votes  for lesser candidates were not counted      
in determining whether a  candidate captured more  than 50 percent of
the vote.  


The observer mission did not suggest that fraud had  been  committed or
that the results would change. It asked the council  to redo its
calculations using the proper methods.  "No human work is perfect. You
always find errors and  faults in it," the CEP letter said.  The letter
accused the OAS of trying to mislead the  Haitian  people and trying to
ruin the CEP's credibility. It said the  calculations were done honestly
and sincerely and followed an  internationally accepted process used in
prior elections.  The OAS was expected to meet with the CEP this      
week, OAS  spokeswoman Hannah Taylor said.  Opposition party leaders
have alleged that Lavalas party  members dominated the CEP, a
nine-member council required by  Haiti's constitution to organise    
elections. Lavalas has denied  that it had any undueinfluence over the
balloting.  Prime Minister Jacques Edouard Alexis said on Tuesday that 
he supported the CEP and urged all political candidates to stay  in the
race for the June 25 runoff, which some disgruntled  opposition
candidates had vowed to boycott. He said the matter  was one of       
Haitian internal affairs.Haiti's government has been paralysed for most
of the past  three years after parliamentary elections held in  April
1997  were declared fraudulent. President Rene Preval dissolved 
Parliament in January 1999 and has ruled by decree since.The Lavalas
Family hoped to win control of parliament  in  anticipation of a return
to power by Aristide, who is  widely  expected to run for and win the
presidency later this year.A U.S.-led invasion force in 1994 restored
Aristide,  Haiti's  first freely elected president, after a military 
coup removed  him from office in 1991.