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6172: Clinton Letter to Aristide Cites Democracy Concern (fwd)

From: nozier <nozier@tradewind.net>

 Thursday December 7 2:34 PM ET
 Clinton Letter to Aristide Cites Democracy Concern  By Trenton Daniel

 PORT-AU-PRINCE, Haiti (Reuters) - President Clinton (news - web sites),

 who sent troops to Haiti six years ago to restore ousted President Jean

 Bertrand Aristide, has written a letter to him expressing concern over
 democracy there following Aristide's re-election.

 ``The president cited the need for tangible steps in Haiti to build an
 society around the goals of justice and rule of law,'' U.S. Embassy
 spokesman Daniel Whitman said late on Wednesday.

 The letter itself was not made public, but Senate President Yvon
 Aristide's spokesman, revealed on Wednesday that Aristide had received
 personal letter from Clinton, dated Dec. 1.

 Aristide won 92 percent of the vote in Haiti's presidential election on
 26, according to official results from the Provisional Electoral
Council. He
 was scheduled to be inaugurated to a five-year term on Feb. 7.

 Aristide, who was Haiti's first democratically elected leader, rose to
power a
 decade ago after spearheading a grass-roots movement that toppled
 of dictatorship and military control. But seven months into his term in
 he was ousted in a bloody military coup and went into exile.

 Three years later a U.S.-led multinational force, widely hailed as a
 policy success under the Clinton administration, restored Aristide to
 A constitutional mandate prevented Aristide from running for a second
 consecutive term and in 1996 he passed the mantle to his hand-picked
 successor, President Rene Preval.

 In the letter, Clinton urged Aristide to resolve Haiti's electoral
 stemming from tainted legislative elections held in May, Whitman said.

 ``The United States together with the international community has made
 known to the Haitian authorities that their failure to address
 election irregularities puts into question their commitment to
 Whitman said, paraphrasing Clinton's letter.

 ``Haiti must take steps to address the flawed vote count for eight to
 senate seats, restabilize credibility for its electoral council and
restore the
 confidence of the Haitian people and the international community.''

 International election observers said 10 senate seats claimed by
 from Aristide's Lavalas Family party in Haiti's May 21 legislative
 should have headed to a runoff because no candidate won an absolute
 majority. The Haitian government has defied repeated requests to
 the votes, saying the electoral council is an independent agency.

 International allies, which did not send observers or financial aid for
 presidential elections, have also criticized Haiti for using the same
 council that oversaw the flawed May vote.

 The electoral council, which organized the presidential election,
reported that
 60.5 percent of Haiti's 4 million voters turned out. But the Caribbean
 group Caricom, one of a few independent observers to participate, put
 turnout at between 15 and 20 percent. Opposition parties, which
 the presidential election to protest at the irregularities in the May
election, said
 the turnout was less than 5 percent.

 In the November election, Aristide's ruling party Lavalas Family also
took a
 sweeping nine seats in the upper house of Parliament. Lavalas now holds
 of 29 seats in the senate and over 80 percent of seats in the lower
house and
 nearly all the mayoralties and town councils.