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#4539: US Asks Haiti To Remedy Flawed Votes (fwd)


Friday July 7 5:39 PM ET  US Asks Haiti To Remedy Flawed Votes

 By GEORGE GEDDA, Associated Press Writer 

 WASHINGTON (AP) - The State Department on Friday renewed its criticism
of Haiti's May parliamentary elections and said it is not too late for
the country to take remedial action. Spokesman Richard Boucher said a
runoff election in Haiti set for Sunday is ``incomplete and inadequate''
because no Senate seats will be at stake in the balloting. He declined
to say whether sanctions are being contemplated. Boucher indicated it
may not be possible to take corrective action by Sunday's runoff, but
said such steps could be taken later on.``The failure of the Haitian
government and the  electoral authorities to use the proper method in  
determining winners in the Senate election certainly calls into question
the credibility of the entire Haitian election process,'' Boucher said.
 He said a flawed counting method gave many Senate candidates an
undeserved victory in the first round. They were declared the winners
even though they fell short of the 50 percent legally required for
victory, he said. Boucher noted that the U.N. Security Council president
issued a statement Thursday calling on the Haitian authorities to adhere
to their own electoral law. He also commended Haiti's Caribbean
neighbors for pressing the Haitian government to resolve the situation.
 Opposition parties charge that the count from May 21 elections was
rigged to ensure a massive victory for the Lavalas Family party of
former President Jean-Bertrand Aristide. He is favored to win November
presidential elections. The U.S. aid program to Haiti involves $22
million worth of humanitarian assistance for schools, feeding the
hungry, and planting trees. Senate Foreign Relations Committee chairman
Jesse Helms, R-N.C., placed a hold on the entire aid program in April
because he objected to Haiti's confiscation of an American-owned rice
company in Haiti. He recently decided to release his hold on the
humanitarian component because it isn't administered by the Haitian
government. But he kept a hold on $10 million in aid to support of the
electoral process.