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5987: Haitians vote for president amid opposition boycott, violence , (fwd)
Posted at 12:28 p.m. EST Sunday, November 26, 2000
Haitians vote for president amid opposition boycott, violence
PORT-AU-PRINCE -- (AFP) -- Another bomb exploded as Haitians voted
today in a general election boycotted by opposition parties, with former
president Jean-Bertrand Aristide expected to win the presidency.
A climate of fear has clouded the vote for president and nine of the
country's 27 senators over the past week in which bombs have killed two
people and injured 17 others. The latest blast today was the 10th in and
around the Haitian capital since Wednesday. Radio Metropole said the
bomb placed under a roadside refrigerator injured a 35-year-old man.
Each side has blamed the other for the violence. Prime Minister Jacques
Edouard Alexis blamed ``certain sectors of the opposition'' for the
bombings. Opposition leaders say Aristide's Lavalas Family party is
responsible. Authorities here arrested 19 people suspected of
involvement in the bombings. State-run television late Friday showed the
detainees, all about 25 years old, as well as handguns and homemade
explosives the police said were seized at the time of the arrests.
Some 4.8 million Haitians were eligible to vote Sunday at approximately
13,000 polling booths. Turnout was reported light, with a heavy police
presence in the capital. Some 15 opposition groups, united in an
alliance known as the Democratic Convergence, have boycotted the
elections, charging that the ballot-counting system used in legislative
elections in May and July was inadequate. The alliance declined to
present a candidate in the presidential race, claiming the vote would be
open to the same kind of abuses they say distorted the earlier
votes in favor of Aristide's party. Neither Haiti's Provisional
Electoral Council nor Aristide's party was willing to review the results
of the earlier polls, which gave Lavalas domination of the legislature.
Of the six rival candidates who set out to compete with Aristide to
replace President Rene Preval, only three remained as candidates Sunday.
Two candidates with links to the former dictator Jean-Claude Duvalier
pulled out, along with one other. The remaining candidates were:
Jacques-Philippe Dorce, a colorful figure who has repeatedly run in
presidential races -- his great grandfather was president in the
late 19th century; National Workers Party (PNT) candidate Jean-Arnold
Dumas; and Serge Sylvain, a human rights activist standing as an
independent. All three are relatively unknown to the public.
Aristide, who brought to politics his experience as a shantytown
priest, was president from February 1992 until ousted by a military coup
in September of that year. He was reinstated in 1995, after a US
military intervention in his favor, and held office until 1996.
Haiti shares with the Dominican Republic the island of Hispaniola, just
southeast of Cuba.