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HAITI
Opposition blocked
2/12/2009
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Electoral authorities reject candidacy of Fanmi Lavalas hopefuls ahead of parliamentary elections.

The Organization of American States (OAS) and the US Embassy in Port-au-Prince are voicing concern over a Feb. 6 decision by Haiti´s electoral authority to reject the candidacy of 16 members of opposition party Fanmi Lavalas, the movement of ousted President Jean-Bertrand Aristide (1991, 1995-96 and 2001-2004), to participate in the April 19 parliamentary elections.

The Provisional Electoral Council´s president, Frantz C. Verret, said that the candidacy applications were rejected because they lacked party leader Aristide´s signature. The former president is living in exile in Africa. A former paramilitary leader, Guy Philippe, one of coup leaders against Aristide, also had his candidacy rejected.

“I can only express my worry at the possibility that an important group of Haitian citizens may not feel represented in this process,” said OAS Secretary-General José Miguel Insulza in a statement. Haitians are scheduled to elect 12 of 30 Senate members.

Verret said the decision cannot be appealed, but Insulza urged the electoral body to extend the period in which individuals can present their candidacies so “the irregularities that some organizations committed could be corrected and all parties could participate normally in the Senate vote.”

The US Embassy in Haiti said that the decision had questioned the elections´ credibility and called for more dialogue.
Hundreds of Fanmi Lavalas supporters protested in the capital following the decision.

“There will be no elections without the participation of Fanmi Lavalas,” protesters said, demanding that the electoral council reconsider these candidates´ participation.

Fanmi Lavalas is one of Haiti´s largest political parties, whose strongest support is among the country´s poorest citizens.
—Latinamerica Press.


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