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The BBC's Peter Greste in Port-au-Prince
"The main opposition parties chose to boycott the election"
 real 56k

Tuesday, 28 November, 2000, 06:13 GMT
Doubts surface over Haiti election
Port au Prince celbrations
Celebrations although result is not yet known
The return of overseas aid to Haiti was thrown into doubt on Monday after the international community expressed reservations about the conduct of Sunday's presidential elections in Haiti.

The Organisation of American States (OAS) has complained that the election went ahead with problems identified during legislative elections in May still not rectified.

One of at least four
A spate of bomb attacks may have kept turnout low
In Washington, a State Department spokesman said low voter turnout and pre-election violence indicated a strong need for social reconciliation.

Aid was frozen after irregularities surfaced in May's elections and diplomats have said international recognition of Mr Aristide's government and the resumption of aid will depend on voter turnout.

Officials estimate 68% of the electorate had taken part in the presidential election, though this has been disputed by the opposition - which boycotted the poll - as well as by independent observers.

But there was some encouragement on Monday from the United Nations. Spokesman Fred Eckhard said: ""We're glad [the elections] went ahead as planned and that there was relatively little violence."

'Open for dialogue'

The left wing former head of state, Jean-Bertrand Aristide is expected to easily defeat the remaining rival candidates.

Jean-Bertrand Aristide
Aristide: "There will be a place for everyone in my government"
In his first news conference since the poll, Mr Aristide, a former priest, said he was ready to talk.

"We are always open for dialogue within the framework of mutual respect," he said.

"I'm convinced soon, we will have the opportunity to address economic issues with the international community."

But opposition leaders said the election had been a massive failure with only about 5% of the population voting.

"The election was illegitimate," said Herve Denis. "The people's abstention means they refuse to be governed by [Aristide's party] Lavalas."

Intimidation

At least three bombs exploded in the capital, Port au Prince, within hours of polling stations opening on Sunday.

A 35-year old man was injured in one blast, but a spate of such attacks in the past few days has left two people dead and 17 injured.

Haiti
Mr Aristide is very popular among poor Haitians
On Saturday, police discovered four crude home-made devices in the capital. According to the authorities, they may have been planted to deter people from voting.

The bombs, they say, are intended to persuade voters to stay away from the polls to tarnish the legitimacy of the election.

However the opposition blames the government for the bombs.

The opposition alleges that Mr Aristide and his party have used electoral fraud, violence and intimidation to hold on to power.

Famille Lavalas says its success reflects the fact that nobody understands ordinary Haitians like Mr Aristide, a charismatic former priest from the slums.

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See also:

28 Nov 00 | Americas
Profile: Jean-Bertrand Aristide
28 Nov 00 | Americas
Aristide supporters celebrate
25 Nov 00 | Americas
In pictures: Haiti gears up to vote
19 Oct 00 | Americas
Haiti government foils 'coup plot'
14 Jul 00 | Americas
Aid threat to Haiti
09 Jun 00 | From Our Own Correspondent
Haitians yearn for stability
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