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#4542: OAS refuses to monitor Haiti poll (fwd)


Saturday, 8 July, 2000, 01:18 GMT 02:18 UK 
 OAS refuses to monitor Haiti poll

 The Organisation of American States mission in  Haiti has said it will
not observe the second  round of voting in parliamentary elections on  
Sunday. The regional grouping of 35 nations said its monitors would take
no part in the second round of voting because it was unhappy at the   
with the way votes were counted after the first poll in May. Repeating
its withdrawal from the controversial reelection of President Alberto
Fujimori in Peru in May, the OAS said it was forced into its           
decision because the principle of one-person one-vote had been
violated.There has also been violence after supporters of a losing     
candidate in a remote provincial town went on the rampage wounding 12

Opposition candidates complained results of the 21 May first-round     
vote were  miscalculated to givethe Lavalas party of former President  
Jean-Bertrand Aristide a strong lead. The electoral council awarded 16
of the 19  Senate seats available in the first round to Lavalas, and has
staunchly refused to recount the ballots. The OAS said Haiti's election
body calculated the results in a way that gave Lavalas more  outright
victories in Senate seats than it was due.  "The OAS electoral
observation mission has determined that, according to provisions of     
Haiti's own electoral legislation, the final results for the senate
elections as proclaimed by the Provisional Electoral Council are        
incorrect," the OAS said in a statement.  "The mission cannot consider
them either accurate or fair", it said. 

 US critics 

 The United States criticised Haiti's government earlier on Friday for
not planning to hold run-offs this Sunday for Senate seats where      
results were in doubt after the first round.  US State Department
spokesman Richard Boucher told reporters that the methods used  to
tabulate the results were incorrect and cast  doubts over the whole
election. "The failure of the Haitian government and the  electoral
authorities to use the proper method in determining winners in the
senate election certainly calls into question the credibility of the
entire Haitian election process," he added.Jean Bertrand Aristide, a
former Catholic priest, is widely expected to run for president and win
later  this year. Haiti's first freely elected president was overthrown
in 1991 by a military coup that resulted in a reign of terror that ended
in 1994 when the United States sent 20,000 troops to restore him. 
Haiti's government has been paralysed for most of the past three years
after parliamentary elections held in April 1997 were declared
fraudulent.  Sunday's election aims to fill 19 of the 27 seats in the
Senate and all 83 seats in the Chamber of Deputies, as well as thousands
of municipal posts nationwide.