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#4317: Haiti's Opposition Parties Reject Election Results (fwd)


Tuesday June 20 7:50 PM ET 
 Haiti's Opposition Parties Reject Election Results By Trenton Daniel

 PORT-AU-PRINCE (Reuters) - Haiti's opposition party members insisted on
 Tuesday that newly published results showing the ruling Lavalas Family
party winning parliamentary and mayoral elections were miscalculated and
should not be accepted. ``The opposition parties don't accept the
results of the elections. For us, there were no elections,'' said Daniel
Supplice, a senatorial candidate and member of opposition coalition
Espace de Concertation. ``We don't want to be a part of this
 masquerade.'' The opposition parties withdrew from the recent election
in Haiti's Grand Anse department and from pending runoff elections, for
which no official date has been set. Supplice said the results from
Haiti's parliamentary and local elections -- held prior to the Grand
Anse vote -- should not be accepted because they were not signed by
electoral council president Leon Manus,  who fled to the United States
on Saturday amid death threats. Nor did electoral vice president Debussy
 Damien, who resigned last week, sign his approval of the count, he
said. The Provisional Electoral Council (CEP) released partial election
results on Monday, under pressure from street protesters who supported
the ruling Lavalas Family party. The results showed an overall victory
for Lavalas, the party of former President Jean-Bertrand Aristide.
 ``We work with the people. We echo the people. We're in sync with the
people,'' Yvon Neptune, a Lavalas spokesman and newly elected Senator,
said of the pressure exerted by protesters.

 Lavalas Seats In Parliament

 Lavalas won 15 of the 19 contested Senate seats and most of the mayoral
seats, the CEP said on Monday. On Tuesday it announced that Lavalas had
also won 26 of the 83 seats in the lower house of parliament, the
Chamber of Deputies, and that the other 57 would be determined in a
runoff election. Results were not released from Grand Anse, which voted
three weeks after Haiti's eight other provinces because of delays in
registering voters. The election, Haiti's first national vote in more
than three years, was expected to pave the way for a democratic society
in Haiti after decades of dictatorship and military rule, as well as
free up $500 million in frozen foreign aid to the hemisphere's poorest
country. But election observers with the Organization of American States
(OAS) questioned the CEP's method of calculating which candidates had
won the outright majority in the election needed to avoid a runoff vote.
The method allegedly skewed election results. The OAS, as well as the
U.S. embassy in Haiti and the United Nations, asked the CEP to
recalculate the vote. The election supervisors said they used the same
 counting method used in prior elections. Neptune said the international
community had exerted much ''psychological violence'' on the Haitian
people, forcing them to protest. Lavalas has called the international
community's allegations an ``electoral coup d'etat.'' Controversy over
the election sent U.S. special Haiti coordinator Donald Steinberg and
U.S. National Security Council senior director Arturo Valenzuela to
Port-au-Prince on Tuesday to meet with Haitian officials. ``We're
certainly quite aware of the process and believe it needs to be handled
very carefully to make sure it's fair,'' State Department spokesman
Richard Boucher said. Haiti's government has been paralyzed for much of
the last three years after elections held in April 1997 were declared
fraudulent. President Rene Preval dissolved parliament in January 1999
and has ruled by decree since.