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#3836: Candidate is killed in Haiti in post-election violence (fwd)
From: Rosann Clements <firstname.lastname@example.org>
Published Wednesday, May 24, 2000, in the Miami Herald
Candidate is killed in Haiti in post-election violence
>From Herald Wire Services
PORT-AU-PRINCE -- Haiti's disorganized but generally peaceful elections
claimed the life of Jean-Michel Olophene, a minor party candidate for mayor
of Port-au-Prince, who died as the result of a clash between his supporters
and followers of the Lavalas Party of former President Jean-Bertrand
Olophene, of the Assembly of Patriotic Citizens (RCP), was hit in the head
by a rock during the melee Monday night in downtown Port-au-Prince.
Meanwhile, thousands of valid ballots from legislative and municipal polls
inexplicably littered a main street outside the capital's main voting
station. Several witnesses said the ballots were tossed from a truck Monday
An electoral official told reporters that copies of statements taken at
local polling stations, which are essential to any vote count, had been
Sunday's elections appeared largely peaceful, but six opposition parties
joined forces to accuse the ruling Lavalas Party of ``stuffing ballot boxes
and discrimination'' against their supporters who saw ``access blocked to
numerous polling places.''
The group also denounced aggression by armed men who, they said, stole
ballot boxes after the polls closed. They also said a million ballots had
mysteriously disappeared, a charge that election officials disputed.
The Lavalas Party dismissed the allegations, saying they came from ``some
politicians with no connection to the people.''
An international observer praised the high voter turnout but remained
cautious about the outcome.
The Organization of American States estimated that between 50 and 60 percent
of the nation's four million-plus registered voters turned out amid tight
security. Haiti has a population of about eight million people.
At stake in Sunday's election is Haiti's future parliamentary majority with
its hefty constitutional powers.
The parliamentary contest -- with a runoff vote scheduled June 25 -- and
municipal elections were called to choose 19 senators, 83 members of the
Chamber of Deputies, 133 mayors and 7,124 officials in local population
Haiti has been without a parliament or popularly elected city councils for
more than a year due to a standoff between President Rene Preval and
opposition parties formerly in control of the legislature.