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Posted Saturday, January 26, 2008
Director of Haiti's troubled electoral council steps down
By The Associated Press

PORT-AU-PRINCE, Haiti (AP) - The executive director of Haiti's embattled electoral council resigned Friday, raising concern that an overdue election for 10 Senate seats will be further delayed.

President Rene Preval and the nine-member council met Friday to select a replacement for Jacques Bernard, who was appointed by an interim government in 2005, council member Ginette Cherubin said.

A council spokesman declined to say why Bernard resigned. Bernard oversaw the body during Haiti's 2006 presidential elections, which Preval won with 51 percent of the vote after the council avoided a runoff by proportionally dividing 85,000 blank ballots among the 33 candidates according to the votes they had received.

Opponents burned Bernard's farmhouse after the election and he fled to the U.S., but later returned. Bernard kept his post when the nine-member council was replaced last December because of fighting and allegations of crime and corruption.

No date has been set for the Senate election, which was postponed in November. A third of Haiti's 30 Senate seats were due to expire this month, but Preval extended their terms pending the new vote.

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