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Haitians vote for new parliament
by BBC (reposted)
Saturday Apr 22nd, 2006 9:13 AM
Voting has ended in the second round of parliamentary elections in Haiti with turnout low despite calls from the United Nations for a strong showing.
The UN had hoped for a healthy turnout in the violence-wracked state to boost the future government.

Observers estimate that less than 20% of the 3.5 million voters took part, with results due within a week.

President-elect Rene Preval's supporters should do well but will not necessarily win an outright majority.

Haiti has been run by an interim government and UN peacekeepers since the violent overthrow of President Jean-Bertrand Aristide in 2004.

Yet the presence of peacekeepers in Haiti - the poorest country in the Americas - has failed to stem the tide of violence that has gripped the country.

Voting was reportedly disrupted in Grande-Saline, in the north of the country, after one person was shot dead.

Poll delay

Mr Preval, elected president in February, had made an appeal to his supporters before election day.

"Without support from parliament, there is not much a president can do," he said.

The second round of elections had been set for March but was delayed because of the volume of complaints from the first round in February.

Only two candidates for deputy won first-round victories, which meant 97 seats in the lower chamber and all 30 senate seats were up for election on Friday.

Under the constitution, the party that holds at least half the seats of parliament will pick the prime minister.