[Date Prev][Date Next][Thread Prev][Thread Next][Date Index][Thread Index]

#3698: Blast Damages Haiti Election HQ (fwd)


Thursday May 18 12:38 PM ET  Blast Damages Haiti Election HQ
 By MICHAEL NORTON, Associated Press Writer 

 PORT-AU-PRINCE, Haiti (AP) - Just days before parliamentary and local
elections, a device exploded at the gate of Haiti's electoral council,
injuring seven passers-by, officials said Thursday. The explosion
Wednesday night damaged the gate and shattered the windows of official
vehicles in a courtyard. There was no claim of responsibility. Seven
people outside the compound were injured and taken to the hospital, an
electoral council security guard said.The seven months leading up to
Sunday's balloting have been marred by more than 70 incidents of
election-related violence. Many Haitians fear being attacked at the    
polls. Since March 27, about 15 people - five of them provincial
election campaign managers - have been killed in politically related
slayings. Opposition parties blame supporters of former President
Jean-Bertrand Aristide for the violence; Aristide spokesmen deny the
accusations. ``We encourage everybody who wants really democratic
elections not to be cowed'' by the violence, Yvon Neptune, spokesman for
Aristide's Lavalas Family party, told a private radio station. Police
have made no arrests during the weeks of violence, prompting ost
candidates to stop campaigning and dampening the enthusiasm of voters.
 A record 4 million people have registered to vote, and more than 29,000
candidates are contesting 7,500 local and parliamentary offices.
 Haiti has been without a legislature since January 1999, when in a test
of his authority after an 18-month power struggle with the majority
party, President Rene Preval locked lawmakers out of Parliament and
appointed a new premier and provisional electoral council by decree.