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#3552: Haitian Mayoral Candidate Is Safe (fwd)


Haitian Mayoral Candidate Is Safe 
 By Michael Norton Associated Press Writer
 Wednesday, May 10, 2000; 2:27 p.m. EDT

PORT-AU-PRINCE, Haiti  A mayoral candidate whose three-day
disappearance prompted fears he was a victim of Haiti's political
violence is safe and has contacted his family, a party official said
Wednesday. Lesly Tilus, candidate in the city of Delmas, had not been
heard from since he left his residence Sunday, said Claire Lydie Parent,
mayor of Petionville and spokeswoman for the Haitian Democratic Party. 
But he contacted his family Tuesday when news of his disappearance
was aired on local radio. He is "safe and sound," Parent said without
elaborating on where he had been. Tilus was one of more than 30 mayoral
candidates in Delmas, an eastern suburb of Port-au-Prince that is home
to 260,000 people.  Tilus' wife told the private Radio Vision 2000 on
Tuesday that her husband had received an anonymous death threat by
telephone on Friday.  A rising tide of political violence has killed 14
people dead since March 29, leaving many Haitians to doubt that the
two-step elections postponed three times and reset for May 21 and June
25, can be held on schedule. Attacks have prompted many candidates to
stop campaigning. Opponents accuse supporters of former president
Jean-Bertrand Aristide of instigating the violence in order to delay the
vote until presidential elections later this year. Aristide is expected
to run for president again, and opponents say combining the elections
would allow his political allies to benefit from his popularity.