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26680: Wharram (news) Haiti Sets New Dates for Elections (fwd)
From: Bruce Wharram <email@example.com>
Haiti Sets New Dates for Elections
Friday 28 November, 2005
By ALFRED de MONTESQUIOU, Associated Press Writer 38 minutes ago
Haiti's electoral board on Friday again postponed the country's first
elections since President Jean-Bertrand Aristide was ousted in a rebellion
almost two years ago.
The nine-member Provisional Electoral Council set a new date of Jan. 8 for
presidential and legislative elections, followed by a Feb. 15 runoff,
council Secretary-General Rosemond Pradel told The Associated Press.
It was the fourth date Haitian authorities have set for the elections, first
scheduled for Nov. 13, to replace the interim government installed after
Aristide's ouster in February 2004.
The elections council decided that Haiti was unprepared to hold the election
on Dec. 27, the date announced last week by interim Prime Minister Gerard
Latortue. Council members met overnight to establish the new date, Pradel
"These dates are the real dates, perfectly final and based on serious
planing," he told AP in a telephone interview.
Haiti's lack of equipment and trained poll workers, its crumbling
infrastructure and its violence have made it difficult to register voters.
Pradel said it was unrealistic to hold elections so soon when the council
had not finished printing ballots, distributing more than 2.5 million voter
ID cards and training poll workers.
"There was a series of practical points that needed to be addressed for the
elections to take place in serene conditions," he said.
Several private organizations had expressed similar views in recent days. In
a report released hours before the election was postponed, the
Brussels-based International Crisis Group urged Haiti to delay the
"Holding these elections over the holidays will mean low turnout and
insufficient international observation," said Alain Deletroz, director of
the group's Latin American Program. "And one month is not enough time to fix
the serious organizational and security problems."
Voters will choose from about 35 candidates for president and hundreds of
candidates for 129 legislative seats.
The revolt that ousted Aristide was led by former soldiers linked to the
repressive military regimes of Haiti's dark past. Aristide, a former priest
who was accused of corruption, now lives in exile in South Africa.
Copyright © 2005 The Associated Press.
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