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5972: Bombs defused ahead of Haiti poll (fwd)

From: nozier@tradewind.net

Sunday, 26 November, 2000, 01:40 GMT 
Bombs defused ahead of Haiti poll (BBC NEWS)

Haitians are expected to re-elect Aristide                             
By Peter Greste in Port au Prince 

 Bomb disposal units in Haiti have defused at least four home-made
explosive devices less than 24 hours before the start of presidential
 elections.The authorities said there were no clear political targets
involved but said the bombs  may have been placed to reduce voter      
turn-out. All the crude devices,known as Creole bombs and made out of  
backyard chemistry  packed into metal pipes, were placed in the capital,
Port au Prince.  Former President Jean-Bertrand Aristide is expected to
win a second term in power  but his supporters have accused the
opposition  of launching violent attacks to keep voters away from the
polls to tarnish the legitimacy of the election.

International suspicion
If voters stay away from the polls the international community is
unlikely to recognise  his government. It has already accused Mr
Aristide's party, known as Family Lavalas, of tampering with the
results of the parliamentary elections earlier this year.As a result of
the dispute, the United Nations,the Organisation of American States and
the  United States have all refused to send observers or technical help
for this election  and they have blocked direct aid and loans to
Haiti.  But a high turnout could equally force the  donors to accept Mr
Aristide's victory as the genuine will of the people and open the way
for the financial aid so desperately needed  here.

 Nervous voters 

 Bombs like Saturday's could have a serious impact on voters already
nervous following a similar spate of explosions and drive-by           
shootings over the past few weeks.  Nobody is sure who is responsible,
the opposition, which is boycotting the vote, says Lavalas is trying to
set up an excuse for cancelling the poll if the results don't go its   
way. Lavalas has accused the opposition of trying to intimidate voters. 
It is far from clear if Haitians will heed Mr Aristide's call to defy
the violence and take part.