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Haiti slowly begins tally after low-turnout vote
by reposted
Sunday Apr 23rd, 2006 8:57 AM
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.

by reposted
Sunday Apr 23rd, 2006 8:58 AM
PORT-AU-PRINCE, Haiti (AP) - Trucks, helicopters and mules carried vote tally sheets in from remote areas yesterday as election officials began counting ballots for Haiti's legislative runoff.

Officials were still calculating the turnout for Friday's vote to choose a new parliament, with early estimates ranging from 10 per cent to 30 per cent of Haiti's 3.5 million registered voters.

Final results are expected within about a week, officials said.
Rene Preval's Lespwa party is likely to take the most seats in the 127-seat legislature, but the 63-year-old former president will have to form a coalition since no party has enough candidates to win a majority.

22 April 2006 – The senior United Nations envoy to Haiti has hailed second-round elections in the country as a major step towards consolidating democracy while decrying clashes that resulted in the closure of three voting centres.

“I am very satisfied with the way these elections have been held,” said Juan Gabriel Valdés, head of the UN Stabilization Mission in Haiti (MINUSTAH), which worked with the National Police to provide electoral security.

Voters cast ballots at 804 voting centres to elect 27 senators and 83 deputies on Friday. As expected, participation was lower than the first round of elections, when René Préval was elected president, the mission reported.

Mr. Valdés hailed Haitians for completing the process, saying they have “restored democracy to Haiti.”

But he also noted that disturbances in Grande Saline and Grand'Anse had resulted in three voting centres being closed. “It is very regrettable that local confrontations between political groups have prevented voting in some places,” he said. “Recourse to violence dishonours the genuine national aspiration for real democracy.”