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#3852: Opposition Protests Sweep by Aristide (fwd)
From: Max Blanchet <MaxBlanchet@worldnet.att.net>
Published Thursday, May 25, 2000, in the Miami Herald
Opposition in Haiti protests election sweep by Aristide supporters
BY MICHAEL NORTON
PORT-AU-PRINCE -- Confronting a potential sweep of parliamentary
elections by supporters of former President Jean-Bertrand Aristide,
Haiti's demoralized opposition cried foul Wednesday.
While official returns from Sunday's parliamentary and local vote could
take days, international observers believe Aristide's Lavalas Family
party won a landslide victory in an election intended to reinstall
constitutional government in Haiti.
``The aim of the Lavalas Family is not only to win the elections, but to
crush its adversaries. The Sunday vote was an example of overkill,''
said Petionville mayoral candidate Danielle St.-Lot, who conceded
``A 100 percent Lavalas victory is impossible. But that is what is
shaping up!'' exclaimed Mischa Gaillard, a Port-au-Prince mayoral
candidate on the opposition Space for Concord ticket.
Most election stations were staffed exclusively by Aristide partisans.
Opposition pollwatchers were expelled from stations because Haiti's
electoral council had only signed the identity cards of Aristide
Vote counters have also had to pore through disorganized heaps of
ballots; many ballots were lost or scattered in streets.
Foreign diplomats applauded the relative peacefulness of Sunday's vote
but were monitoring the vote count. A second round of voting is set for
June 25 for any parliamentary seats not won with more than 50 percent of
``We are concerned over reports of confusion in the tabulation of
results, and will note that Haitian authorities and the Organization of
American States are investigating all reports of irregularities in that
process,'' U.S. State Department spokesman Philip Reeker said Tuesday in
Opposition politicians claim that President Rene Preval and Aristide,
his mentor, are implementing a step-by-step plan to impose a
dictatorship. They fear a new wave of harassment and violence will
enforce that rule.
Since Sunday, police have arrested 15 members of the Struggling People's
Organization, including Paul Denis, a Senate candidate and former
senator, party spokesman Gerard Pierre-Charles said. He said Denis was
arrested Tuesday for illegal firearms possession even though he had a
handgun permit. Police refused comment.
Jean Limongy, a Space for Concord candidate for a seat in the lower
house, was also arrested Tuesday.
Copyright 2000 Miami Herald