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#3599: Haitian election campaign manager fatally shot (fwd)


Haitian election campaign manager fatally shot
May 12, 2000  Web posted at: 4:36 PM EDT (2036 GMT) 

 PORT-AU-PRINCE, Haiti (AP) -- In the latest violent incident before
Haiti's long-delayed May 21 local and parliamentary elections, three
unidentified gunmen shot and killed a provincial election campaign
manager, a political leader said Friday. The gunmen shot Branord Sanon
three times at dawn, when he was looking for 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 of
some 40,000 people about 135  kilometers (83 miles) west of the capital,
where he was running the lower-house campaign for his cousin Louiseul
Sanon. The assailants did not take any of his belongings. "The enemies
of democracy don't want us to participate in the elections. But, in  
spite of the shock, we're not going to let them intimidate us," said
Lassegue, of the Open the Gate party, a sometimes critical ally of the
government.  On March 18, gunmen broke up a Lassegue political rally
outside the capital and threatened to kill her. The rising tide of
bloodshed has led many Haitians to fear that elections, postponed three
times and reset for May 21 with a possible second round on June 25, may
be called off or marred with violence at the polls.President Rene Preval
called for elections after locking lawmakers out of Parliament in
January 1999. He appointed 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. Since March 27, some 15 people have been killed in politically
related slayings,five of them provincial election campaign managers. Two
opposition politicians have been abducted, and activists' homes or
businesses have fallen victim to arson. 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 Some candidates have withdrawn their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.