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28042: Craig (news) BBC: Haiti parliamentary polls delayed (fwd)
From: Dan Craig
Haiti parliamentary polls delayed
Haiti's electoral council says the second round of parliamentary elections will
be delayed.* *
Council head Rosemond Pradel said it was impossible to keep to the 19 March
date because complaints from the first round were still being dealt with.
This means that in the absence of a parliament, the inauguration of
President-elect Rene Preval, set for 29 March, must also be delayed.
Mr Preval won Haiti's long-awaited general elections on 7 February.
He is currently visiting neighbouring Dominican Republic in his first foreign
visit as Haiti's leader.
'Quite impossible'* *
The second round of the legislative polls will pit the two leading candidates
from the first round in each of 30 Senate seats and 99 Lower House seats
against one another.
But the electoral council has not yet set a date for the polls to take place,
blaming the delay partly on demonstrations which took place while first-round
vote-counting was underway.
Allegations of fraud led to daily street rallies by Mr Preval's supporters, who
accused the electoral council of manipulating the vote.
Mr Pradel, the electoral council secretary-general, said at least a week was
needed to process complaints from the first round, which were still coming in.
"I could say that we have just begun to receive claims," she said. "So it is
quite impossible to respect the 19 March date."
He said a further 24 days were needed to complete preparations such as
producing the ballots, so a date in early April looked possible.
Story from BBC NEWS:
Published: 2006/03/03 00:47:41 GMT
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