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28358: (news) Chamberlain: Preval's party leading in partial Haiti vote result (fwd)

From: Greg Chamberlain <GregChamberlain@compuserve.com>

     By Joseph Guyler Delva

     PORT-AU-PRINCE, Haiti, April 24 (Reuters) - The Lespwa political
movement of Haitian President-elect Rene Preval has won nearly half of the
parliamentary seats tallied so far but his ability to control the
legislature remained in doubt, according to partial election results
released on Monday.
     Lespwa candidates won 11 of the 24 Senate seats counted from Friday's
runoff election and 20 of the 41 seats counted in the Chamber of Deputies,
the lower house in the legislature, Haiti's electoral council announced.
     All 30 Senate seats and 97 of the 99 seats in the Chamber were up for
grabs in the election. The other two Chamber seats were decided in the
first round of voting on Feb. 7, when Preval was declared the winner of the
     The runoff election will determine whether Preval, who served as
president from 1996 to 2001, will have enough support in parliament to
govern effectively.
     Haiti, the poorest country in the Americas, is trying to shake off
decades of dictatorship, political violence and turmoil. The Feb. 7
election was its first since Preval's one-time mentor, Jean-Bertrand
Aristide, was pushed from the presidency in February 2004 by a violent
revolt and by pressure from foreign governments to quit.
     Haiti has been run since Aristide's ouster by an appointed interim
government while U.N. troops and police have tried to restore security.
     Preval won the presidency with broad support from Haiti's poor
majority, while the nation's small, wealthy elite harbors deep suspicions
of the former Aristide protege.
     Elections officials said they expected to release more results on
     An international observer mission with representatives from Brazil,
Canada, Chile, the Dominican Republic, Jamaica, Mexico, Panama and the
United States issued a preliminary report on the election on Monday,
calling the vote credible and well-organized.
     The International Mission for Monitoring Haitian Elections said the
vote "accurately reflected the will of the Haitian people" but acknowledged
some problems.
     It said some voters with proper identification cards were barred from
voting because of incorrect voter lists and some polling stations did not
have enough seals to guard against ballot-box tampering.