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A SPECIAL SECTION: Haiti, Since the January 12, 2010 Fierce Earthquake

Posted Monday, April 25, 2011, 2011 

Haiti fraud-marred legislative vote results, not yet official

PORT-AU-PRINCE Haitian officials delayed Monday the publication of a clutch of fraud-tainted results from run-off legislative elections just hours before the announced winners were due to take office.

The Provisional Electoral Council said in a statement that it was delaying the certification of 19 legislative results of the March 20 polls "out of concern for transparency and in the higher interest of the nation."

The United Nations and major donor nations for quake-hit Haiti, including the United States, had voiced concern over fraud after a number of races were overturned, almost all in favor of President Rene Preval's ruling Unity party.

President-elect Michel Martelly, who won the simultaneous presidential run-off with a resounding 67.5 percent of the vote, called for an independent probe and urged the international community not to recognize the results.

The supposedly definitive legislative results on Thursday showed Unity expand its presence in the Chamber of Deputies, taking 46 of the 99 positions, and gain an absolute majority in the upper Senate with 17 of the 30 seats.

The legislative results were greeted by outbreaks of violence in parts of Haiti that left at least one person dead.

Martelly's fledgling Reypons Peysan party won only three parliamentary seats, and to enact the reforms Haiti needs he will have to forge deals with Unity.

The 50-year-old former singer and carnival entertainer, has urged opponents to work with him to rebuild the quake-hit Caribbean nation.

He is yet to make an official announcement but observers believe he may ask Unity's Jean-Max Bellerive -- a respected figure well-known to the international community -- to stay on as prime minister and form a government.

Already the poorest country in the Americas, Haiti was crippled by a January 2010 earthquake that killed more than 225,000 people, displaced 1.5 million, and left the capital in ruins.

The pace of reconstruction in the last 15 months under Preval has been slow.

Martelly, who takes office May 14, has vowed his first six months will focus on moving hundreds of thousands of quake survivors out of squalid tent cities, tackling a resistant cholera epidemic and boosting agricultural production.

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