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#3258: Haiti Elections To Continue in June (fwd)


Haiti Elections To Continue in June
 By MICHAEL NORTON, Associated Press Writer
PORT-AU-PRINCE, Haiti (AP) -- Haiti announced Friday  that a second
round of long-delayed elections would take place on June 25, a week
after a deadline pressed by the United States and Haitian opposition
parties. The election council's announcement Friday followed a       
similar one on Tuesday that set the first round of the local and
parliamentary polls for May 21. It was the third time the poll dates had
been pushed back. But Preval, who is in Cuba for a summit of Third World
 countries, has yet to validate the latest dates by publishing them in
an executive order.An earlier set of poll dates were set by the
electoral council for April and May, but Preval argued that they    
were invalid because he had not published them in an executive order.
The elections were originally to take place in November and December.   
This time, the council said it is working to ensure that such an order
is secured for the new dates.''The council has sent a letter to ...
(Preval) requesting him to publish the dates in an executive order,''
provisional electoral council spokesman Roland Sainristil announced   
Friday.Opposition politicians have accused the president of trying    
to delay the elections so that his party's candidates could benefit from
the popularity of former President Jean Bertrand Aristide, who is
favored to win a separate presidential election set for November. The
constitution prevents consecutive presidential terms. Preval appeared to
support the new dates for local and parliamentary elections. Before
flying to Cuba, he said he and the nine electoral council members had
reached a''consensus'' Monday night.The United States and opposition
parties had pushed for elections by June 16 because Haiti's constitution
rules out seating a parliament elected after that date.But council
member Carlo Dupiton said Tuesday that Preval had convinced the council
that the constitution would allow June 25 elections.''As soon as the
results are published, Parliament will be installed,'' Preval said.    
Haiti has not had a parliament since January 1999, when Preval shut it
down after an 18-month power struggle with the majority party. Preval
appointed a new premier and the electoral council by decree in March