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5993: Voter turnout 61 percent in Haiti election boycotted by opposition (fwd)
Voter turnout 61 percent in Haiti election boycotted by opposition
PORT-AU-PRINCE (AFP) - - Voter turnout was just under 61 percent in
Haiti's general election, which went ahead amid a boycot by opposition
politicians and in an atmosphere of tension exacerbated by more bomb
blasts Sunday, the nation's electoral authorities said. Former president
Jean-Bertrand Aristide of the ruling Lavalas Family party is widely
expected to win the presidential election. Its outcome,
plus the senatorial result will be known within 48-72 hours "at the
latest," the electoral authority CEP
said. CEP said that voter turnout around
the country had averaged out at 60.5 percent. A climate of fear has
clouded the vote for president and nine of the country's 27 senate
seats. Bomb attacks perpetrated since Wednesday have killed two
children and injured 17 others.
Two explosions Sunday brought to 11 the number of bombs in and around
the Haitian capital this week. Radio Metropole said the first bomb,
placed under a roadside refrigerator, injured a 35-year-old man.
No one was injured in the second explosion, Radio Galaxie reported.
A third bomb was found and defused by police before it could explode.
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 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. As a result, the international
community refused to send observers to monitor Sunday's vote. The
exceptions were a four-member mission from the Caribbean Community and
Common Market (Caricom) and some 30 observers from a US non-governmental
organization, Global Exchange.