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#3538: Haiti Adviser Is Persona Non Grata (fwd)
Monday May 8 8:46 PM ET Haiti Adviser Is Persona Non Grata
By MICHAEL NORTON, Associated Press Writer
PORT-AU-PRINCE, Haiti (AP) - The Haitian government declared a
prominent international elections adviser persona non grata, casting
further doubt over the country's troubled election process, a radio
station reported Monday. Micheline Begin, head of the Haiti office of
the Washington-based International Foundation for Election Systems, left
Haiti before the government could expel her, Premier Jacques-Edouard
Alexis said in an interview broadcast by private Radio Kiskeya.
Alexis said Begin had reported to her group's Washington headquarters
that President Rene Preval was unduly influenced by advisers loyal to
the party of former President Jean-Bertrand Aristide, Preval's mentor
and predecessor.``We can't tolerate this sort of declaration from a
foreigner,'' said Alexis, who called it ``an insult.''
IFES confirmed Begin was no longer in Haiti but declined further
comment. In February, IFES stirred up criticism in Haiti when it said
that voter registration difficulties could postpone elections.
After much discussion, two rounds of local and legislative elections
were rescheduled from March to May 21 and June 25. Opposition leader and
former Port-au-Prince Mayor Evans Paul denounced the move to push out
Begin, saying the government had ``blinded the international
community.'' ``In this climate, I don't see how credible, democratic
balloting can take place this month,'' said Paul, who charged Aristide
partisans of controlling the computer division of the electoral council.
Bloodshed and vandalism have marred the preparations for elections and
halted most campaigning, dampening the enthusiasm of more than 4 million
On Sunday night, gunmen killed Elam Senat, a well-known opposition
militant in the town of Savanette, and his 23-year-old son, Edner, Paul
said. In the Port-au-Prince, arsonists torched the home of legislature
candidate Jeremie Joachim. A dozen people have been killed in
politically related slayings since March 29. Aristide party spokesmen
have denied responsibility for political violence.