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The BBC's Peter Greste
"Haitians had hoped this election would end the political chaos"
 real 28k

Orlando Marville, American States Monitoring Mission
"It's difficult to accept a solution that does not respect the law of the land"
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Tuesday, 20 June, 2000, 04:25 GMT 05:25 UK
Haiti election results challenged
Tyres on fire outside the US embassy
Anti-American slogans were chanted outside the US embassy
Haiti's Provisional Electoral Council (CEP) has announced the official results for the country's senate elections, but has postponed a run-off vote for contested legislative seats.

The announcement came at the end of the day in which demonstrators set up burning barricades in protest at delays over releasing the figures.

The Provisional Electoral Council (CEP) said the Lavalas Family, the party of popular former President Jean-Bertrand Aristide, had won 15 of the 19 contested Senate seats and most of the Caribbean nation's mayoral seats in the elections held on 21 May.

Lavalas supporters
Lavalas supporters scent victory

But the results are being challenged by the international community and by CEP president Leon Manus, who fled the country at the weekend in fear of his life.

Reports say he had been threatened by senior Haitian Government officials.

An observer mission from the Organisation of American States has calculated that, without a run-off, Family Lavalas should have won no more than eight or nine senate seats.

Violent protests

In the capital, Port-au-Prince, and at least two other towns there had been violent protests about the delay in publishing the results.

Supporters of the former president brought Port-au-Prince to a standstill on Monday for the second time in four days.

They stoned vehicles and passers-by, and blocked roads with burning barricades, forcing most schools, shops and businesses to remain closed.

Outside the US embassy, demonstrators set debris ablaze and chanted anti-American slogans.

"The United States is a nation of thieves. It has tried to steal our votes," one demonstrator said as the crowd tried to burn an American flag.

Test of democracy

The Haitian parliament was dissolved by President Rene Preval in January last year after an 18-month power struggle involving the opposition majority party.

Mr Preval, an Aristide ally, has since ruled by decree.

Last month's elections - Haiti's first national vote in more than three years - were expected to pave the way for a democratic society, as well as to free up $500m in frozen foreign aid.

Mr Aristide, who served as president from 1991-1995, is expected to win a scheduled presidential election in November.

The elections are being viewed as an important test of Haiti's fledgling democracy, after years of military dictatorship and instability.

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See also:

17 Jun 00 | Americas
Burning barricades in Haiti
09 Jun 00 | From Our Own Correspondent
Haitians yearn for stability
30 May 00 | Americas
Aristide win predicted in Haiti
22 May 00 | Americas
Haiti poll fraud allegations
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