[Date Prev][Date Next][Thread Prev][Thread Next][Date Index][Thread Index]

#4577: UN chief criticizes Haitian election irregularities (fwd)


WIRE:07/10/2000 15:21:00 ET
 UN chief criticizes Haitian election irregularities
UNITED NATIONS, July 10 (Reuters) - Secretary-General Kofi  Annan
criticised Haiti"s election  procedures on Monday, saying authorities
should have resolved irregularities in the first  round of voting before
holding a second-round  run-off vote. Annan said he regretted "that the
electoral council and  Haitian authorities chose to proceed with holding
 run-off  parliament elections yesterday, July 9, without  having
resolved  outstanding issues related to the first round."  Opposition
parties charge that the count of the May 21  national and local
elections was rigged to ensure victory for  the Lavalas Family party of
former President Jean-Bertrand  Aristide, favoured to win presidential
elections in November.  Haiti defied international calls for a recount
of the May 21  elections and on Sunday held a runoff vote for
parliament. "The Haitian people had demonstrated its commitment to the 
democratic process by registering to vote and  participating in  record
numbers on May 21," Annan  said in a statement, read by  his
spokeswoman, Marie Okabe.  "That commitment has been tested by
subsequent events,contributing to the low turnout in yesterday"s     
run-off and the  use of force and other improprieties to influence the
outcome,"he said.Last Thursday, the U.N. Security Council urged Haitian 
authorities to investigate reports of  irregularities. The 15-member
council, in a statement, "expressed  concern  with the violence during
the electoral period and reports of  irregularities in electoral
procedures and changes occurring  in" the electoral council.  Annan said
he wished "to reiterate this call and to urge Haitian leaders to heed
the wishes of the people of Haiti, who  have repeatedly expressed their
desire for a return to  constitutionality."  The president of the
electoral council has fled to 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.  Under
Haitian law, candidates must win a majority to avoid a  second round of
voting. But officials counted votes for only the  top four contenders in
each race, thereby giving outright  first-round victories to several
Lavalas candidates. The Lavalas party received 16 wins out of the 19
Senate  seats up for election.Haiti has been without a Parliament since
President Rene  Preval dismissed legislators in 1999 to resolve a
longstanding  power struggle, and then named a government by decree.