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#3593: Campaign Manager Shot in Haiti (fwd)


Friday May 12 6:31 PM ET  Campaign Manager Shot in Haiti

 By MICHAEL NORTON, Associated Press Writer 

 PORT-AU-PRINCE, Haiti (AP) - Three gunmen shot to death a local
campaign manager in Haiti, a political leader said Friday, in the latest
violent incident before the nation's long-delayed legislative elections.
 Branord Sanon was shot three times at dawn while trying to hail a taxi
in Port-au-Prince, said senate candidate Marie-Laurence Jocelyn
Lassegue, a prominent member of Sanon's party. Sanon was going to
Baraderes, a coastal town 83 miles west of the capital, where he was
running the campaign for his cousin, Louiseul Sanon, a candidate for
Haiti's lower house of parliament. Sanon's Open the Gate party is a
sometimes critical ally of the government.Increased political violence
has led many Haitians to question whether local and legislative
elections can be held as scheduled on May 21 and June 25. At least 15
people, five of them local campaign managers, have been killed in
political violence since March 27. President Rene Preval called for
elections after locking lawmakers out of Parliament in January 1999. He
 appointed Premier Jacques-Edouard Alexis and the electoral council by
decree in March 1999. Opposition leaders have accused partisans of
former President Jean-Bertrand Aristide of trying to delay the
 parliamentary and local elections so that candidates can benefit from
Aristide's popularity in presidential elections at the end of the year.
 In addition to killings, two opposition politicians have been abducted.
The latest, Lesly Tilus of the Haitian Democratic Party, one of more
than 30 mayoral candidates for eastside Delmas, turned up Tuesday,
telling a radio station he had been kidnapped. He did not elaborate. The
insecurity has led most candidates to stop campaigning. Some candidates
have withdrawn their candidacies and the enthusiasm of many voters has
been dampened. The government last week banned all street marches until
after elections to prevent violence. A record 4 million voters have
registered, and more than 29,000 candidates are competing for thousands
of offices. Some 11,000 voting places are being installed.