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#4269: Electoral Council Head Flees Haiti (fwd)


Sunday June 18 2:06 AM ET  Electoral Council Head Flees Haiti
 By MICHAEL NORTON, Associated Press Writer 

 PORT-AU-PRINCE, Haiti (AP) - The president of Haiti's electoral council
has fled his violence-prone country, fearing for his life after he
refused to sign elections results for last month's contested balloting,
sources said. Leon Manus sought asylum in an unidentified foreign
mission Friday afternoon and crossed the border of the
 neighboring Dominican Republic Saturday en route to the United States,
where his children reside, two diplomats and a Haitian Cabinet minister
told The Associated Press on condition of anonymity. Senior government
officials had instructed the 78-year old former appeals court judge to
sign the final election results. When he refused, they threatened him,
the diplomats said. Manus told a friend that he had been told he would
be killed if he did not sign onto the results, which he felt were
incorrect, the friend told The Associated Press, speaking on condition
of anonymity.More than 2 million Haitians cast votes May 21 - the
largest ever to vote in legislative elections in this county - despite
threats of violence at the polls. The 60 percent turnout was largely
seen as a demand for the restoration of democracy in a country long
ruled by military and civilian dictatorships. But publication of the
results has been delayed without explanation, even though election
official Luciano Pharaon announced Tuesday he had sent the final results
to the election council. On Friday, supporters of former President
Jean-Bertrand Aristide's party set tires aflame in downtown
 Port-au-Prince to back their demands that results giving his Lavalas
Family Party a sweeping lead be published immediately. The opposition
charges the elections were set up to ensure a massive win for Aristide,
who is largely favored to sweep November presidential elections. The
National Council of Election Observers and the Organization of American
States Observation Mission said the elections were acceptable despite
numerous irregularities. Nevertheless, both observer teams criticized
the method used to determine first-round winners - calculating the
 required 50 percent plus one vote on the basis of votes won by top
contenders instead of all contenders - as not conforming with electoral
law. That count method gave at least eight of 17 contested Senate seats
to Aristide candidates who otherwise would have to face a second round
of balloting June 25. In response, most opposition parties called for a
boycott and the resignation of the electoral council, charging
 mass fraud in favor of Aristide candidates. On Thursday, two members of
the nine-person council who belong to the opposition resigned in