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#4525: UN Urges Haiti To Probe Vote Reports (fwd)


Thursday July 6 10:27 PM ET  UN Urges Haiti To Probe Vote Reports

 UNITED NATIONS (AP) - The Security Council urged Haitian authorities
Thursday to investigate reports of irregularities in May's national and
local elections, stating that free and fair elections are ``crucial to
democracy.''Opposition parties charge that the count from May 21
elections was rigged to ensure a massive victory for the Lavalas Family
party, of former President Jean-Bertrand Aristide, who is favored to win
November presidential elections. The 15-member council, in a statement
after a briefing by Angela Kane of the U.N. Department of Political
 Affairs, ``expressed concern with the violence during the electoral
period and reports of irregularities in electoral procedures and the
changes occurring in'' the electoral council.                           
The president of the electoral council fled Haiti for the United States,
saying he  feared for his life because he refused to sign off on
erroneous results. Two other members of the nine-member council resigned
over the issue. The Security Council urged ``the Haitian government to
investigate reports of irregularities,'' the statement read. But Haitian
President Rene Preval called the protests ``secondary'' and warned
Haitians would be giving up on democracy if the election results were
not upheld. Haiti has been without a Parliament since Preval dismissed
legislators to resolve a longstanding power struggle in 1999, and then
named a government by decree. Under Haitian law, candidates must win a
majority void to avoid a second round of balloting. But officials
counted the votes of only the top four contenders in each race, creating
erroneous winning percentages that observers say gave first-round
victories to several Lavalas candidates. A second vote is set for July