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HAITI
Elections overshadowed by protests
12/3/2010
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Two-thirds of candidates demand that election results be voided amid fraud allegations.

Twelve of the 18 presidential candidates in the Nov. 28 election have demanded that the country´s electoral board void the result of the vote, alleging that the vote was rigged.

The opposition candidates say the vote was skewed in favor of Jude Celestin, candidate of the ruling party, and that voters were turned away at the polls and other irregularities. Three people died, including a 13-year-old boy, in the protests held in front of the United Nations Stabilization Mission in Haiti.

The observer mission of the Organization of American States and the Caribbean Community, or CARICOM, had admitted there were “irregularities” in the vote but said the results should not be thrown out. Local electoral authorities said the results of 55 of the 1,500 voting centers were voided for the irregularities.

Some 4.7 million Haitians were registered to elect a successor to President René  Préval, whose five-year term ends Feb. 7. They also were to elect 11 of 30 senators and the 99 lower-house legislators.

Infrastructure across the country was destroyed in the January 2010 earthquake across the country, pushing back a vote for months, but Préval insisted upon elections, as his term was coming to a close.  Many voters pushed for the inclusion of the Fanmi Lavalas party, of former President Jean-Bertrand Aristide, who ruled in 1991, 1995-96 and 2001-2004, which stoked protests against the results after the vote.

According to early results from the Provisional Electoral Council, former first lady Mirlande Manigat — wife of ex - President Leslie Manigat, who ruled for five months in 1988 before being ousted by a military coup —  leads the vote, followed by popular singer Michel Martelly. The three frontrunning candidates did not participate in the calls for the vote to be thrown out.

Official results are expected on Dec. 7. If no candidate wins more than half the votes, a run-off will be held on Jan. 16.
—Latinamerica Press.


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