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#4460: July 9 Set for Haiti Runoff Vote (fwd)


Friday June 30 1:08 PM ET  July 9 Set for Haiti Runoff Vote

 By MICHAEL NORTON, Associated Press Writer 

 PORT-AU-PRINCE, Haiti (AP) - Haiti's president announced Friday that a
second round of elections for Parliament will be held July 9 despite
protests over dubious results from the earlier balloting. Results from
the May 21 vote showed a strong victory for the Lavalas Family party of
former President Jean-Bertrand Aristide. But three of the nine members
of the elections council refused to approve the results - including the
council president, who fled the country saying he feared for his life.
Most opposition parties have called for the results to be annulled and
say they will boycott any more elections. They maintain the count was
rigged to ensure an overwhelming victory for Aristide, who is favored to
win presidential elections in November.The elections were supposed to
return Haiti to democracy after President Rene Preval dismissed
Parliament in January 1999 to resolve a prolonged power struggle       
and appointed a government by decree. The United Nations, the United
States, the Organization of American States, Canada and France have
found fault with the ballot count. On Friday, radio stations broadcast
an executive order from Preval announcing the July 9 date for runoff
balloting on seats where no candidate received the required 50 percent
plus one vote needed to win. Since Aristide's party was leading in most
of those races, Lavalas is expected to control both houses of Parliament
 - the Senate and the Chamber of Deputies. The second round had
originally been set for June 25, but was postponed because of delays in
printing the ballots. In the first round of voting, the Lavalas party
won 16 seats in the 27-seat Senate, while an independent candidate won
one seat. Eight seats are not up for election. Vote counting was not
finished in the remaining two seats and it was unclear if they would be
on the ballot in the second round.In the 83-member Chamber of Deputies,
Aristide's party won 26 seats. The remaining seats are to be determined
in the second vote. The Haitian National Council of Election Observers,
which groups representatives from about a dozen independent civic action
groups, has refused to monitor the second round of voting.