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#4605: U.S. Tells Haiti to Correct Vote Flaws Quickly (fwd)


Thursday July 13 6:03 PM ET
 U.S. Tells Haiti to Correct Vote Flaws Quickly  By Anthony Boadle

 WASHINGTON (Reuters) - The United States warned Haiti on Thursday that
it risked losing international aid if it did not quickly correct       
the flaws of its recent elections. Haiti held parliamentary and
municipal elections on May 21 in which observers said tainted results in
senate races had favored ex-president Jean Bertrand Aristide's Lavalas
party.The electoral dispute could hold up badly needed foreign aid in
the hemisphere's poorest country that is struggling to build democratic
institutions after decades of dictatorship.The Organization of American
States last week suspended its observer mission in Haiti ahead of a   
second round of voting on Sunday that saw a very low turnout.``Time is
running out for the Haitian authorities to find a solution and reaffirm
their commitment to a  democratic outcome,'' said Thomas Shannon, the
U.S. delegate at an OAS meeting on Haiti. ``We and many in the
international community would find it difficult to work with a
parliament in Haiti that had been elected in a tainted process,'' he
said. The European Union warned in a statement on Wednesday that it
would be obliged to review its aid policy toward Haiti if doubts about
the fairness of the election were not cleared up.The OAS election
observers mission said in a report to the meeting that Haiti's
Provisional Electoral Council (CEP) had used a method of tallying votes
that favored Aristide's Lavalas party in 10 senate races. The CEP
refused to hold runoffs in those races. The OAS mission pulled out
saying the authorities had violated Haiti's constitution and election
law, and the principle of one-man, one-vote.Haitian foreign minister,
Fritz Longchamp, defending the election result at the meeting in
Washington,said the OAS had no mandate to impose its recommendations on
Haiti, and urged OAS states to understand his country's economic plight.
``What Haiti needs is political, social and economic stability.
Sanctions and threats won't bring this  stability,'' Longchamp said.    
Caribbean nations, who feel the vote-counting flaws do not warrant
calling into question the whole election, said they would work with
Haiti to resolve the problem. They said the process of strengthening
democracy in their poverty-stricken neighbor must be seen in the      
context of long-term social and economic development.The OAS, to which
all the hemisphere's nations belong except Cuba, took no action and will
look to the Caribbean countries organization Caricom to resolve the
issue. The OAS observer mission withdrawal repeated similar action taken
earlier this year in Peru during the controversial reelection of
President Alberto Fujimori for a third consecutive term. Aristide,
Haiti's first freely-elected president who stepped down in 1995, is
widely expected to run for the presidency later this year and
win.Aristide was overthrown in 1991 by a military coup that resulted in
a reign of terror that ended when the  United States sent 20,000 troops
to restore him in 1994.