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#3154: Slaying raises doubts on Haitian election (fwd)


Slaying raises doubts on Haitian election   
 By Jennifer Bauduy, Reuters, 4/6/2000 
PORT-AU-PRINCE, Haiti - The slaying of a prominent Haitian journalist
has heightened tensions and raised questions about  Haiti's ability to
hold legislative elections already delayed three times,politicians said
yesterday.''No one is campaigning anymore. People will be afraid to go
out to vote,'' said Evans Paul, a spokesman for the coalition Espace de
Concertation party.Jean Dominique, 69, owner and director of Radio Haiti
Inter and a special adviser to President Rene Preval, was shot to death
by two gunmen as he arrived at his radio station in the capital Monday.
A security guard, Jean-Claude Louissaint, also died in the attack.     
A longtime democracy activist, Dominique criticized figures across the  
political spectrum in Haiti in his commentaries, including the economic
elite, drug barons, and supporters of exiled former dictator Jean-Claude
Duvalier. Haiti, struggling to establish a democracy following decades
of dictatorship and military rule, has thrice postponed legislative and
municipal elections that would be the first national vote in more than 
three years.Preval, tied to the Lavalas Family party of former president
 Jean-Bertrand Aristide, has rejected the latest date, Sunday, set by
the country's nine-member electoral council, and has made no mention of
a new date.Opponents say postponing the legislative elections until the
end of the year so they can be held along with presidential elections
will help allies of Aristide win control of parliament on his coattails.
   Aristide is expected to win the presidency. Haiti has been in a state
of turmoil since fraud-tainted elections in April 1997. Preval dissolved
parliament in January 1999 to end a political impasse and now rules by
decree. The Espace de Concertation negotiated a settlement with Preval a
few  months later to end the two-year crisis and gained several
government posts as well as three members in the electoral council.   
On Monday, Paul called for his party's Cabinet ministers to resign      
following a statement by Prime Minister Jacques-Edouard Alexis that  all
ministers agreed with the postponement of the election. On Tuesday, five
US congressmen released a statement condemning the slaying of Dominique
and calling for elections to be held so that a new parliament can be
seated by the constitutionally mandated second Monday in June.
The United States led a multinational force of some 20,000 troops to  
return Aristide to Haiti's presidency in 1994, three years after he was
toppled by a military junta. ''Only Haitians can put their heads
together, realize that we have acountry and that we must not let that
country be destroyed,'' said Tuneb Delpe, a former senator for the
National Front for Change and Democracy, the party on whose ticket
Aristide became president in 1991 but later abandoned.Journalists
expressed outrage at Dominique's killing and said it was having a
chilling effect on free speech. One radio station, Radio Vision        
2000, suspended a popular political talk show, substituting music in the
time slot.We have information that there are a lot of plans for further 
assassinations - I have been informed that there are plans to
assassinate me. There is a climate of terror in the country,'' Paul