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

#4297: Aristide Partisans Block Haiti (fwd)


Monday June 19 12:01 PM ET 

 Aristide Partisans Block Haiti
 By MICHAEL NORTON, Associated Press Writer 

 PORT-AU-PRINCE, Haiti (AP) - Supporters of former President
Jean-Bertrand Aristide set a large fire outside the U.S. Embassy and
stoned vehicles in the streets, paralyzing Haiti's capital as they
demanded the release of last month's election results. Setting tire
barricades aflame, protesters blocked Port-au-Prince's main arteries
with hulks of vehicles, junked refrigerators and large rocks.
Demonstrators lit a large pile of debris in front of the U.S. Embassy
and chanted anti-American slogans. Haitian police watched but did not
intervene. The violence came two days after Haiti's top election
official fled the country after receiving a death threat. Leon Manus had
refused to authenticate results from May 21 elections that would give
Aristide's party control of Haiti's Senate. The United States, United
Nations and Organization of American States have challenged the
vote-counting process, which opposition leaders say would set Haiti
 on the road to a one-party state under Aristide. Manus fled to the
United States on Saturday. Two other members of the elections
 council resigned Thursday.                                          
Monday's violence was the second time in a week that Aristide supporters
had paralyzed the capital. On Friday, they threw stones and threatened
more violence if election results were not published.Council member
Macajou Medard told the private Radio Haiti Inter on Monday that results
would be published this week. To restore constitutional government,
Haiti held elections for the lower house of Parliament and 19 of 27
Senate seats. Preliminary results showed Aristide's Lavalas
 Family party winning 16 Senate seats and more than 20 of 83 lower house
races. Lavalas also won more than half of 133 mayoral races. The OAS
said the voting was acceptable but that the method used to determine
 winners wasn't. Haitian law says that to win in the first round, a
candidate must get 50 percent plus 1 vote. If not, the top two finishers
meet in the second round. Officials count all the ballots cast, and then
discarded all but the four top vote-getters. Critics say counting
 only the top contenders violated electoral law. The count gave at least
eight of 17 Senate seats to Aristide candidates who otherwise would have
to face a second round on June 25. A pro-Aristide parliament should be
installed by July. Aristide - who served as president from 1991-1995 -
is expected to win presidential elections in November. Haiti hasn't had
a constitutional government since President Rene Preval, an Aristide
ally, shut down parliament in January 1999 to resolve an 18-month power
struggle with the opposition majority party. Preval then appointed a new
premier by decree.