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Central American Correspondent Peter Greste
"The elections were described as Haiti's last best chance for democracy"
 real 28k

Saturday, 8 July, 2000, 01:18 GMT 02:18 UK
Haiti poll monitors pull out

Aristide's party was awarded most seats in the first round
The Organisation of American States (OAS) mission in Haiti has said it will not observe the second round of voting in parliamentary elections on Sunday.

The regional grouping of 35 nations said its monitors would take no part in the second round of voting because it was unhappy at the with the way votes were counted after the first poll in May.

Repeating its withdrawal from the controversial reelection of President Alberto Fujimori in Peru in May, the OAS said it was forced into its decision because the principle of one-person one-vote had been violated.

opposition
Opposition supporters were unhappy about the first round of results

There has also been violence after supporters of a losing candidate in a remote provincial town went on the rampage wounding 12 people.

Incorrect

Opposition candidates complained that results of the 21 May first-round vote were miscalculated to give the Lavalas party of former President Jean-Bertrand Aristide a strong lead.

The electoral council awarded 16 of the 19 Senate seats available in the first round to Lavalas, and has staunchly refused to recount the ballots.

The OAS said Haiti's election body calculated the results in a way that gave Lavalas more outright victories in Senate seats than it was due.

"The OAS electoral observation mission has determined that, according to provisions of Haiti's own electoral legislation, the final results for the senate elections as proclaimed by the Provisional Electoral Council are incorrect," the OAS said in a statement.

"The mission cannot consider them either accurate or fair," it said.

US critics

The United States criticised Haiti's Government earlier on Friday for not planning to hold run-offs this Sunday for Senate seats where results were in doubt after the first round.

US State Department spokesman Richard Boucher told reporters that the methods used to tabulate the results were incorrect and cast doubts over the whole election.

"The failure of the Haitian Government and the electoral authorities to use the proper method in determining winners in the senate election certainly calls into question the credibility of the entire Haitian election process," he added.


The mission cannot consider them either accurate or fair

OAS statement

Jean Bertrand Aristide, a former Catholic priest, is widely expected to run for president and win later this year.

Haiti's first freely elected president was overthrown in 1991 by a military coup that resulted in a reign of terror that ended in 1994 when the United States sent 20,000 troops to restore him.

Haiti's Government has been paralysed for most of the past three years after parliamentary elections held in April 1997 were declared fraudulent.

Sunday's election aims to fill 19 of the 27 seats in the Senate and all 83 seats in the Chamber of Deputies, as well as thousands of municipal posts nationwide.

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See also:

20 Jun 00 | Americas
Haiti election results challenged
09 Jun 00 | From Our Own Correspondent
Haitians yearn for stability
06 Apr 00 | Americas
UN Haiti mission in peril
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