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Tuesday, 30 May, 2000, 09:36 GMT 10:36 UK
Aristide win predicted in Haiti
voting
Haitians queue to vote
By Peter Greste in Port au Prince

Partial returns from Haiti's parliamentary and local elections show that the party led by the former president of Haiti, Jean-Bertrand Aristide, has won a majority in the senate.

Electoral officials released the results on Monday, more than a week after the vote to fill more than 6,000 positions in five levels of government.

Analysts say the returns appear to confirm a sweeping victory by Mr Aristide's party, Famille Lavalas.

The elections are intended to restore Haiti's first functioning parliament in three years.

It has been a long time coming, but at last Haitians are beginning to learn the shape of their new government.

aristide
Jean-Bertrand Aristide's party should have a majority

Electoral officers in the capital, Port au Prince, announced that the Famille Lavalas party had won at least 14 of the 27 seats in the senate counted so far.

And the party had also taken 10 of the 30 seats in the Chamber of Deputies, with its candidates leading in the other 20 counts still to be completed.

Run-off

Any seat without a clear winner will go to a run-off election next month.

Mr Aristide is hoping for a second run at the presidency in November, and the latest results should give momentum to his campaign.

But the opposition has complained of both widespread fraud during the election itself and of arrests of government opponents in the days that followed.

International observers said polling day was unexpectedly peaceful and well-ordered.

demo
Demonstrators protesting at lack of voting registration last week

Over the weekend, the US Government condemned the climate of intimidation and called on the Haitian Government to use restraint.

Opposition parties say at least 34 of their members were arrested last week alone.

A dispute between the government and opposition crippled the last parliament almost as soon as it was elected, and thousands of Haitians have been considering fleeing the political anarchy and the poverty.

Now, unless this process goes smoothly, it will have solved nothing.

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06 Apr 00 | Americas
UN Haiti mission in peril
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