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26567: (news) Chamberlain: Haiti election body bars U.S. citizens from ballot (fwd)
From: Greg Chamberlain <GregChamberlain@compuserve.com>
PORT-AU-PRINCE, Haiti, Nov 11 (Reuters) - Haiti's electoral agency on
Friday threw two Haitian-born U.S. citizens out of the race for the
country's presidency, ignoring a Supreme Court decision that one of them
should be allowed to run.
The troubled Caribbean country's electoral council excluded Dumarsais
Simeus, a Texas-based multimillionaire, and Samir Mourra from a list of
authorized candidates for the election, originally due to take place Nov.
20 but now seen as unlikely until mid-December at the earliest.
Thirty-five candidates were allowed to run in the first presidential
ballot since former President Jean-Bertrand Aristide was ousted in February
2004 after a monthlong armed revolt and under U.S. and French pressure to
quit. Once a champion of democracy in Haiti, Aristide faced accusations of
increasing despotism and corruption.
Haiti, the poorest country in the Americas, has continued to be
scarred by criminal and political violence since Aristide fled, despite the
presence of more than 7,000 Brazilian-led U.N. peacekeepers and
The decision by the electoral council to exclude Simeus and Mourra
came after a panel appointed by the interim authorities recommended they be
barred because of their U.S. citizenship. The electoral council also
excluded a third candidate, Jose Nicholas, but gave no reason.
Last month, the Supreme Court ordered the electoral council to put
Simeus' name on the final list of approved presidential candidates.
The electoral council has said no one holding a foreign passport can
run for president. Both Simeus and Mourra say they have never renounced
their Haitian citizenship and have protested attempts to keep them out of