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#5136: OAS official to visit Haiti for a dialogue on elections (fwd)

From: nozier@tradewind.net

Published Thursday, September 21, 2000, in the Miami Herald 
 OAS official to visit Haiti for a dialogue on elections
 Recognition of vote at stake BY DON BOHNING 

 In another effort to resolve an electoral standoff between the Haitian
government and the international community before the country's Nov. 26
presidential elections, Luigi Einaudi, assistant secretary-general of
the Organization of American States, heads for Haiti again Friday to
broker a national dialogue on the controversy. Without a resolution to
the problem, international recognition of both the Nov. 26
 presidential vote and of a new parliament resulting from May and July
legislative elections is in doubt. As a result, the hemisphere's poorest
country could lose hundreds of millions of dollars in foreign
assistance. Einaudi's visit, the second in a week, comes at the request
of the Haitian government. The country has been under heavy
international pressure over the way Senate votes were calculated in May
21 legislative elections. A pro-government electoral council, in
apparent violation of both the country's constitution and electoral
laws, certified 10 Senate candidates of former President
 Jean-Bertrand Aristide's Lavalas Family party, as elected without a
runoff, which an OAS electoral observer mission said was called for.
 Aristide is also expected to easily win the Nov. 26 presidential vote.
 The United Nations, the OAS, the European Union, the Caribbean
Community, the United States and other so-called ``Friends of Haiti''
all have warned the Haitian government that it risks international
isolation if the electoral controversy is not resolved. The Clinton
administration has already threatened to withhold any financial
 support for the presidential vote, channel nearly all economic
assistance to Haiti through nongovernmental organizations and look
closely at all grants and loans to Haiti from international financial
institutions. Einaudi, in a telephone interview from Washington
Wednesday, said he hoped to ``facilitate a dialogue oriented toward
decisions regarding the May 21 election, the Nov. 26 election and, more
generally, the strengthening of institutions central to
 democracy'' in Haiti. Einaudi said he would first hold preparatory
conversations with political parties, including Aristide's party, and
opposition groups as well as representatives of civil
 society, the private sector and the human rights community to determine
``the shape and content of the dialogue, which will begin Monday.''
 The dialogue, said Einaudi, is meant to ``take advantage of the
moment'' in which the international community has come together in its
concern over events in Haiti. ``It's an opportunity for both the
international community and the Haitian political class to live up to
their respective responsibilities,'' said Einaudi.