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learnedly read, too; in part, of intellectual rigor
Posted Thursday, December 9, 2010
|Haiti to recount
ballots in disputed election
PORT-AU-PRINCE, Haiti - Haiti's electoral
council says it will recount the ballots in the country's disputed presidential
Council president Gaillot Dorsainvil says the ballots will be
recounted this afternoon in the presence of Haitian and international observers.
Dorsainvil has invited the three top candidates to monitor the recount.
|By Jonathan M. Katz,
|Associated Press Writer
the announcement Thursday following protests that paralyzed the capital. Angry
supporters of Michel Martelly have claimed fraud denied him a spot in the
January runoff. A government-backed candidate and a former first lady made it to
the runoff. The U.S. Embassy has said the preliminary results appeared to
conflict with observers who monitored the initial count.
THIS IS A BREAKING NEWS
UPDATE. Check back soon for further information. AP's earlier story is below.
PORT-AU-PRINCE, Haiti (AP) - A popular singer vowed to legally challenge
election results that narrowly ousted him from Haiti's presidential race after
his supporters barricaded streets and set fires in violence that threatened the
fragile stability that followed a devastating Jan. 12 earthquake.
Michel "Sweet Micky" Martelly urged his backers on Wednesday to nonviolently protest results
from Nov. 28 presidential elections that demonstrators say were rigged. His
campaign manager later said they would formally challenge the tallies released
late Tuesday to Haiti's Provisional Electoral Council.
|A freedom fighter murdered by genocidal
tyrant Rene Preval.
His supporters carried
pink signs with the smiling face and bald head of Martelly, built street
barricades, challenged heavily armored foreign soldiers and used government
campaign posters to start fires.
"We want Martelly. The whole world wants
Martelly," said James Becimus, a 32-year-old protester near the U.S. Embassy.
"Today we set fires, tomorrow we bring weapons."
Other protesters said they
would continue to mobilize but do so nonviolently.
violence is the right of the people," Martelly said. "I will be with you until
the bald-head victory."
A light rain that fell through the night and continued
through the morning Thursday extinguished burning piles of tires and dampened
the protests: Barricades still blocked intersections throughout the capital but
Associated Press journalists saw fewer protesters and the city was much quieter.
The crowd outside the electoral council headquarters in the suburb of Petionville had also diminished.
A day earlier, crowds of young men wearing
their shirts as masks threw rocks at U.N. troops at the electoral council
building. The soldiers - Indians and Pakistanis working as a single unit —
responded with exploding canisters of tear gas that washed over a nearby
earthquake-refugee camp, sending mothers running from their tarps with their
crying, coughing children in tow.
Protesters set fire to the headquarters of
outgoing President Rene Preval's Unity party, traded blows with U.N.
peacekeepers and shut down the country's lone international airport.
earlier urged the candidates to call off the protests. He acknowledged there had
been fraud in the election, but said it was typical of elections around the
"This is not how the country is supposed to work," he told demonstrators
in a live radio speech. "People are suffering because of all this damage."
fallout from the fraud-riddled shut down cities across impoverished Haiti at a
moment when medical aid workers need to tackle a surging cholera epidemic that
has claimed more than 2,000 lives.
Haiti's Radio Kiskeya said in an unconfirmed
report that at least four demonstrators were killed — three in Les Cayes,
about 120 miles (193 kilometers) west of Port-au-Prince in the country's
southern peninsula, and one in the northern city of Cap-Haitien.
popular carnival singer, narrowly lost a spot in a runoff election to Jude
Celestin, a political unknown viewed by supporters and detractors alike as a
continuation of Preval's administration. The U.S. Embassy criticized the
preliminary results Tuesday, saying Haitian, U.S. and other international
monitors had predicted that Celestin was likely to be eliminated in the first
Preval shot back at the U.S. Embassy's reproach, saying, "The American
embassy is not the (electoral council)."
State Department spokesman P.J. Crowley
said the U.S. is not fomenting the unrest.
"The United States is in no way
responsible for the actions of any individual. What we are determined to help
Haiti achieve is a credible election and a result — not one that the United
States will impose — but one that the people of Haiti can participate in
fully," he told reporters in Washington.
Preval's administration has been
condemned by many Haitians for failing to spearhead reconstruction of the
country after the earthquake. More than an estimated 1 million people still live
under tarps and tents and little of the promised international aid from the
United States and other countries has arrived.
Preliminary election results put
Celestin ahead of Martelly by just 6,845 votes for second place. Former first
lady and law professor Mirlande Manigat took first place with 31.4 percent of
the vote, while Celestin had 22.5 percent and Martelly 21.8 percent.
The top two
candidates advance to the Jan. 16 second round.
Manigat also told Haitian radio
that she felt her reported vote tally was low. Celestin's managers said before
the election that they had expected both a first-round victory and to be accused
Thousands were disenfranchised by confusion on the rolls, which were
overstuffed with earthquake dead but lacked many living voters. There were
reported incidents of ballot-stuffing, violence and intimidation confirmed by
international observers, but U.N. peacekeepers and the joint Organization of
American States-Caribbean Community observer mission said the problems did not
invalidate the vote.
Turnout was low. Just over 1 million people cast accepted
ballots out of some 4.7 million registered voters. It is not known how many
ballots were thrown out for fraud.
Martelly had joined with 11 other candidates,
including Manigat, to accuse Preval of trying to steal the election while polls
were still open.
An appeals period is open for the next three days, and election
observers said a third candidate might be included in the runoff if the
electoral council decides the first-round vote was close enough — though the
constitutionality of such a move would be debatable.
U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon expressed concern "about allegations of fraud" and "the acts of violence
that have taken place in the aftermath of the announcement," U.N. spokesman
Martin Nesirky said at U.N. headquarters in New York.
He said all candidates
have a responsibility to encourage their supporters to refrain from violence.
American Airlines canceled all flights in and out of the Haitian capital because
airport employees were unable to get to work Wednesday because of
demonstrations, spokeswoman Martha Pantin said. Flights will also be canceled on
___ Associated Press writers Jacob Kushner in Port-au-Prince, Ben Fox
in San Juan, Puerto Rico, Bob Burns in Washington and Edith Lederer at the
United Nations contributed to this report.
Copyright © 2010 The Associated Press
|Wehaitians.com, the scholarly journal of
democracy and human rights