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#4580: BBC: US considers action against Haiti (fwd)

From: Catherine Orenstein <catherineo@earthlink.net>


US considers action against Haiti

The ballot paper of a candidate arrested during the vote

The United States is considering whether to take action against Haiti
following what it described as "incomplete and inappropriate" elections
there on Sunday.

It is not too late for the Haitian authorities to reverse this course and
reaffirm their commitment to a democratic outcome of the electoral process

State Department's Richard Boucher
The State Department said a number of Senate seats had not been contested
properly and urged the Haitian authorities to remedy the situation.

Earlier, the United Nations Secretary-General, Kofi Annan, expressed concern
that a second round of voting had gone ahead despite irregularities in the
first round.

The opposition boycotted the elections, and international observers refused
to monitor them, saying the first round had favoured the party of the former
Haitian President, Jean-Bertrand Aristide.

Crucial poll

The poll - to restore an elected congress and senate which were suspended
last year - was seen as Haiti's chance to restore democracy after decades of

Mr Aristide's Lavalas Party has claimed victory in the election

The Lavalas Party, of former Preisdent Aristide, claimed victory in the
polls and called for a dialogue with the international community. No
official results have been issued yet, and the head of Haiti's electoral
council fled the country rather than endorse the results.

A BBC correspondent in the region, Peter Greste, says the elections have
been critical to Haiti. The country urgently needs an elected legislature in
place to run the country after more than a year-and-a-half.

Haiti also desperately needs the $500m in foreign aid that donors have kept
under lock and key until Haiti puts a legitimate government in place.

US criticism

State Department spokesman Richard Boucher said the vote was flawed by the
fact that senate seats left undecided by the first round were not included.

"Failure to include in the July 9 run-off election the seats not won in the
first round by absolute majority as prescribed by Haitian electoral law,
make this cycle of parliamentary elections incomplete and inappropriate," Mr
Boucher said.

However, in keeping with previous US remarks about the polls, he stressed
that there was still time for the Port-au-Prince authorities to "reaffirm
their commitment to a democratic outcome of the electoral process".

Anan's regret

UN Secretary-General Kofi Annan said on Monday that he regretted that
Haiti's Government had gone ahead with weekend elections.

Mr Annan said he "wished to express his regret that the electoral council
and Haitian authorities chose to proceed with holding run-off parliamentary
elections... without having resolved outstanding issues related to the first