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#4346: U.S. Department of State Daily Press Briefing (fwd)

From: Rosann Clements <rosann@onemain.com>

U.S. Department of State
Daily Press Briefing
Wednesday, June 21, 2000
Briefer: Philip Reeker
1-2	Election Results / Special Haiti Coordinator Don Steinberg In
	 Haiti/ Senate Races / U.S. Concerned About Results of Senate
	 Election/Missing Head of Electoral Council
DPB #63
WEDNESDAY, JUNE 21, 2000, 1:45 P.M.
MR. REEKER: Welcome to the State Department this fine Wednesday afternoon.
As you know, Spokesman Boucher is traveling with the Secretary and her party
on their way to Beijing, the first stop of her trip. So I'm here to try to
answer your questions. I have no statements today, and why don't we go
directly to our friends from the Associated Press.
QUESTION: Can you tell us your reaction to the release of the election
results in Haiti yesterday?
MR. REEKER: Yes. First of all, as Ambassador Boucher indicated yesterday,
Special Haiti Coordinator Don Steinberg is in Port au Prince along with NSC
Senior Director Valenzuela engaging with Haitian and OAS officials in
discussions regarding the issue of the senate election results. I don't have
a readout from him yet, and we expect him back in the next day or so.
As I understand it, the six remaining active members of Haiti's nine-member
provisional electoral council issued the official results of the senate
races yesterday. These results indicate that all senate seats were won by
absolute majority in the first round; 16 of the 17 seats were won by
candidates of the Lavalas Party; one seat was one by an independent
We understand that the CEP - that is, the electoral council - issued the
results of the races also for Haiti's 83-member lower house, the Chamber of
Deputies, later last night but we don't have yet any official documentation
of those results.
Our major focus has been on the results of the senate races, and questions
arise not about how many votes were obtained by individual candidates, but
about the methodology used by the electoral council, the provisional
electoral council, in determining the winners of the races, particularly
since the published results are based on the vote tabulation methodology
that the OAS has noted is completely inconsistent with Haitian electoral
law. So we view with extreme concern the publication of results for the
senate seats that perpetuates the methodological error used in calculating
the outcome of the senate races on May 21st.
Right now we're consulting with the OAS, as I indicated. And as I understand
it, they may have a statement and we may have something further later today
once we have a better picture of the information.
QUESTION: On this, though, is there a general agreement that the Aristide
party has won all of these elections and that it's a question of, like,
whether they got less than 50 percent in some of these races but, if the
races were held again, that they would probably win but just because there
were many other competing candidates?
MR. REEKER: It's a little hard for me to get into the specifics, just
because I don't have the full readouts yet. As I indicated, Mr. Steinberg is
still in Port-au-Prince and so I don't have the full information. But I did
indicate our concern with the way - the methodology used to determine
winners of those races. As you indicated, the council issued official
results in the senate races that indicate that all the seats were won by
absolute majority in the first round and, as I said, 17 of those seats were
won by the Lavalas Party. So until I have a better picture, I can't really
make any broader comment.
As I indicated, perhaps later today we'll have statements from the OAS or
something further to give you but, at this point, that's all I can mention
now is that we do have extreme concern that the publication of these results
went ahead perpetuating this methodological error.
QUESTION: Is it true that Steinberg is in Haiti because he can't get out
because the airport is closed?
MR. REEKER: I had not heard that. I just know that he's still there and not
back here, but that we expect him back shortly. I haven't done his travel.
As you know, we have a history of not doing travel arrangements.
QUESTION: A new subject, Sierra Leone?
MR. REEKER: Was there anything else on Haiti?
QUESTION: The missing head of the electoral council --
MR. REEKER: Mr. Manus.
QUESTION: Yeah. Any word on his whereabouts?
MR. REEKER: I understand he's currently in the United States. I think as we
mentioned before, he entered on a valid visa. I don't have anything on his
QUESTION: Are you seeking to discuss with him why he fled the country?
MR. REEKER: I'm not aware of any scheduled meetings at this time. I checked
into that and don't have anything official with Department of State meeting
Mr. Manus. We have met with him frequently in the past in Haiti.