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28224: (news) Chamberlain: Security a concern for Haiti's April election (fwd)
From: Greg Chamberlain <GregChamberlain@compuserve.com>
By Joseph Guyler Delva
PORT-AU-PRINCE, Haiti, April 4 (Reuters) - Elections officials pressed
Haiti's interim government and U.N. peacekeepers on Tuesday to protect
legislative elections later this month from angry former candidates who
have threatened to disrupt them.
Electoral council president Max Mathurin said losing candidates could
resort to violence to protest their disqualification from the run-off on
"Some candidates and their supporters have already provoked a few
violent incidents in the Grande Anse and the Artibonite regions," Mathurin
Haiti managed to hold a relatively peaceful first round of
presidential and legislative elections on Feb. 7, when voters went to the
polls for the first time since former president Jean-Bertrand Aristide was
deposed more than two years ago.
Another ex-president, former Aristide protege Rene Preval, won the
presidential vote. But most of the 99 seats in the Chamber of Deputies and
all 30 Senate seats are scheduled to be decided in balloting on April 21.
Several candidates who lost in the first round and challenged the
final results have said they will not allow voting to take place in their
jurisdictions if their names are not on the ballots.
"I'm still campaigning for the run-off and my name should be on the
ballot. If not, elections will be held anywhere but in my jurisdiction,"
said Roselaure Aubourg, a candidate for the Chamber of Deputies who did not
qualify for the run-off.
Some observers fear that frustration over controversial decisions on
first-round winners and losers might stir violence during the run-off.
It was not likely that any single party would reach the majority
needed to control parliament.
"Now that the president has been elected, the political interests at
stake during the legislative vote are huge," said Mathurin.
Damian Onses-Cardona, spokesman for the U.N. peacekeeping mission in
Haiti, said U.N. troops were working with Haitian police to assess security
and determine where more attention should be given.
"Any additional measures would be announced at a time closer to the
vote," Onses-Cardona said.