[Date Prev][Date Next][Thread Prev][Thread Next][Date Index][Thread Index]
26608: (news) Chamberlain: Haiti sets Dec. 27 election date (fwd)
From: Greg Chamberlain <GregChamberlain@compuserve.com>
By Joseph Guyler Delva
PORT-AU-PRINCE, Haiti, Nov 17 (Reuters) - Haiti will hold long-delayed
national elections -- the poor Caribbean country's first since last year's
ouster of President Jean-Bertrand Aristide -- on Dec. 27, an official said
Haiti's constitution requires the inauguration of a new president by
Feb. 7, 2006. But election officials, hampered by logistical problems,
political violence and legal challenges, have several times postponed the
vote for the presidency, the legislature and local offices.
"The electoral council has set the first round for December 27 and the
runoff for January 31, 2006, and the president has no objections," said
Michel Brunache, chief of staff for interim President Boniface Alexandre.
Aristide was driven from office on Feb. 29, 2004, by an armed
rebellion and under pressure from the United States and other nations. A
council of elders appointed an interim government to take the nation of 8.5
million people to elections in time for a February inauguration.
An 8,000-member U.N. peacekeeping force, sent after Aristide's
departure, is helping provide security.
Election officials face daunting challenges. Thousands of poll workers
must be hired and 3.4 million identification cards that voters need to cast
their ballots must be distributed.
Jose Miguel Insulza, secretary-general of the Organization of American
States, said on Thursday he expected the identification cards to be
available for distribution to voters by Dec. 14 or 15 at the latest.
He dismissed the notion a Dec. 27 election, coming two days after
Christmas, could dampen voter turnout because Haitians might be visiting
relatives away from home -- and away from polling stations.
"I don't think it's an attempt to exclude people," he said in Miami.
"Most people are going to be in Haiti anyway for the election. If it's the
27th, it's perfectly appropriate."
Some Haitian officials and political analysts doubt Haiti can hold a
fair election by year's end, considering the lagging preparations and gang
and political violence that has killed hundreds of people since Aristide
"Any election time is going to be problematic in Haiti because my view
is that they won't be ready for months, if not years, to hold an election,"
said Robert Rotberg, a Harvard University professor and author of books on