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Haiti slowly begins tally after low-turnout vote
PORT-AU-PRINCE, Haiti, April 22 (Reuters) - Haiti slowly began to collect tally sheets on Saturday after a parliamentary election that drew few voters but avoided most of the violence that has marred past attempts at democracy.
U.N. troops began bringing tally sheets back from remote towns and villages to the vote counting center in the capital Port-au-Prince, said Max Mathurin, head of the Provisional Electoral Council in the impoverished Caribbean nation.
"Some have already arrived at the tabulation center but we probably won't start talking about figures till Monday," Mathurin told Reuters.
Friday's second-round vote to pick 97 of 99 members of the Chamber of Deputies and 30 senators will decide whether President-elect Rene Preval, who won a first-round victory on Feb. 7, will have enough sway with parliament and the next prime minister to govern effectively.
Haiti, the poorest country in the Americas, has been afflicted by dictatorships, political violence and poverty for most of its 202 years.
Preval's predecessor as president, former Roman Catholic priest Jean-Bertrand Aristide, was ousted in February 2004 while facing an armed revolt amid accusations of corruption and despotism.
Haiti has been run since then by an unelected interim authority while U.N. troops and police have tried to maintain peace between Aristide's supporters in the sprawling slums and the wealthy elite, who opposed him and now also harbor deep suspicions about Preval.