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#3670: U.S. thinks Haiti can be ready for elections (fwd)


WIRE:05/16/2000 17:30:00 ET
 U.S. thinks Haiti can be ready for elections

WASHINGTON (Reuters) - The United States said on Tuesday it thought the
Provisional Electoral Council in Haiti could  complete preparations for
parliamentary elections in time for  the first round of voting on May
21. "We do think that the electoral council in Haiti has made 
significant progress, and there is time to complete the  remaining task
before the first round of elections occurs,"  said State Department  
spokesman Richard Boucher.  Boucher, speaking at his daily briefing,
urged the Haitian  government to arrest and prosecute those         
responsible for attacks  on candidates and activists. In one of the
latest such political assassinations, three  gunmen shot and killed a
campaign organizer Branord Sanon of the  Open the Gate Party (PLB) on
Friday near a bus station in the  capital Port-au-Prince.  More than a
dozen people have been killed in political or  election-related attacks
in the past six weeks as the impoverished Caribbean nation heads toward
its first national  elections in more than three years.   Boucher       
said: "We also urge all of Haiti's leaders to  publicly denounce acts of
violence and to encourage all citizens  to demonstrate their support for
democracy by turning out to  vote in full force."   Asked if an election
next Sunday could be free and fair, he  said: "It can be but some of
those things need some attention and could still get some attention
before the actual vote." Haiti is struggling to establish a stable
democracy after decades of dictatorship and military rule. Two rounds
of  legislative and municipal elections are scheduled for May 21 and 
June 25.  Copyright 2000 ABC News