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6172: Clinton Letter to Aristide Cites Democracy Concern (fwd)
From: nozier <firstname.lastname@example.org>
Thursday December 7 2:34 PM ET
Clinton Letter to Aristide Cites Democracy Concern By Trenton Daniel
PORT-AU-PRINCE, Haiti (Reuters) - President Clinton (news - web sites),
who sent troops to Haiti six years ago to restore ousted President Jean
Bertrand Aristide, has written a letter to him expressing concern over
democracy there following Aristide's re-election.
``The president cited the need for tangible steps in Haiti to build an
society around the goals of justice and rule of law,'' U.S. Embassy
spokesman Daniel Whitman said late on Wednesday.
The letter itself was not made public, but Senate President Yvon
Aristide's spokesman, revealed on Wednesday that Aristide had received
personal letter from Clinton, dated Dec. 1.
Aristide won 92 percent of the vote in Haiti's presidential election on
26, according to official results from the Provisional Electoral
was scheduled to be inaugurated to a five-year term on Feb. 7.
Aristide, who was Haiti's first democratically elected leader, rose to
decade ago after spearheading a grass-roots movement that toppled
of dictatorship and military control. But seven months into his term in
he was ousted in a bloody military coup and went into exile.
Three years later a U.S.-led multinational force, widely hailed as a
policy success under the Clinton administration, restored Aristide to
A constitutional mandate prevented Aristide from running for a second
consecutive term and in 1996 he passed the mantle to his hand-picked
successor, President Rene Preval.
In the letter, Clinton urged Aristide to resolve Haiti's electoral
stemming from tainted legislative elections held in May, Whitman said.
``The United States together with the international community has made
known to the Haitian authorities that their failure to address
election irregularities puts into question their commitment to
Whitman said, paraphrasing Clinton's letter.
``Haiti must take steps to address the flawed vote count for eight to
senate seats, restabilize credibility for its electoral council and
confidence of the Haitian people and the international community.''
International election observers said 10 senate seats claimed by
from Aristide's Lavalas Family party in Haiti's May 21 legislative
should have headed to a runoff because no candidate won an absolute
majority. The Haitian government has defied repeated requests to
the votes, saying the electoral council is an independent agency.
International allies, which did not send observers or financial aid for
presidential elections, have also criticized Haiti for using the same
council that oversaw the flawed May vote.
The electoral council, which organized the presidential election,
60.5 percent of Haiti's 4 million voters turned out. But the Caribbean
group Caricom, one of a few independent observers to participate, put
turnout at between 15 and 20 percent. Opposition parties, which
the presidential election to protest at the irregularities in the May
the turnout was less than 5 percent.
In the November election, Aristide's ruling party Lavalas Family also
sweeping nine seats in the upper house of Parliament. Lavalas now holds
of 29 seats in the senate and over 80 percent of seats in the lower
nearly all the mayoralties and town councils.