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#4572: US Faults Haitian Election (fwd)


Monday July 10 5:30 PM ET   US Faults Haitian Election
By GEORGE GEDDA, Associated Press Writer 

 WASHINGTON (AP) - The State Department on Monday called Haiti's    
parliamentary runoff election ``incomplete and inappropriate'' because
it  failed to include Senate seats not won in the first round by an
absolute majority.``It's not too late for Haitian authorities to reverse
this course and reaffirm their commitment to a democratic outcome for
the electoral process,'' the department said. The official response to
Sunday's balloting was provided by a department spokesman who asked not
to be identified by name.Under Haitian law, a runoff election is
required if no candidate for a contested seat receives more than 50
percent of the vote. The administration says many Senate candidates were
declared to be the winners in elections held May 21 even though they
lacked a clear majority.The two-tier election process was expected to
reaffirm the Lavalas Family Party of former President Jean-Bertrand
Aristide as by far the most powerful political force in the country.He
is expected to win presidential elections scheduled for November.Marc
Thiessen, a spokesman for Senate Foreign Relations Committee chairman
Jesse Helms, R-N.C., called the election a ``complete fraud''and said it
was purchased by Aristide with $3 billion in assistance that the United
States has provided to Haiti since 1994.``It's time to conclude that
this is an illegitimate government and we should not give it any
legitimacy or recognition,'' Thiessen said.Largely because of flawed
electoral processes, Haiti has been denied $500 million in assistance
from donor countries and from international lending institutions.      
The State Department official said consultations on next steps were     
being held Monday with officials of the Organization of American States
and the Caribbean Community. Both groups have shown strong leadership in
pressing Haitian authorities ``to correct these irregularities,'' the
official said. Joining the United States in condemning the vote count
procedures after the first round were the United Nations, the OAS,
Canada and France.the OAS said Friday that its Electoral Observer
Mission would not monitor the runoff. It said the flawed vote count
produced a result that was``distorted by a methodology contrary to
Haiti's own laws and to international standards of equity and