Haiti Archives 1995-1996
19/05/95 HAITI-POLITICS: Squabbling Mars Kickoff of Election Campaign By Ives Marie Chanel

Copyright 1994 InterPress Service, all rights reserved.

Worldwide distribution via the APC networks.

PORT-AU-PRINCE, May 19 (IPS) – Campaigning for the June elections got off to a rowdy start this week with immediate objections by those left off the list of recognized candidates.

Officially, the campaign for the legislative, municipal and local elections on June 25 was launched Thursday with the publication by the Provisional Electoral Council of those officially recognized as comntesting seats.

Left off the list were the Communists and party leader Rene Theodore immediately called on his supporters to mobilise their forces for the campaign.

He warned the Electoral Council that the decision to reject his candidacy and those of other members of his party was ''a measure likely to cause trouble among the people''.

Theodore's candidacy, and that of fellow traveller Rony Mondestin, were rejected because of problems arising in connection with recognising those parties which have emerged from a split within the Movement for National Reconstruction, Electorial Council sources said.

Secretary of State for Mines Rockfeller Guerre was also unhappy the Council rejected 30 percent of the candidates put up by his party. He accused the Council of not being impartial in the approach to the elections.

Still, the number of candidates contesting seats on the three elected bodies was close to 12,000.

A total of 3,730 hopefuls throughout the country applied to stand for deputy, senator or mayor but only 1,461 were accepted by the Electoral Council. Of these, 133 candidates have entered the lists for the 18 seats in the Senate and 655 for the 83 seats available in the Chamber of Deputies.

They represent 23 parties and political coalitions — the majority being left of centre.

The Lavalas Political Front, which enjoys the support of President Aristide, put up the largest number of candidates followed by the National Front for Change and Democracy (FNCD) which supported Aristide's candidacy for president in 1990.

In third place was the National Congress of Democratic Movements (CONACOM-Social Democrat) then the socialists of the Haitian Progressive and Revolutionary Nationalist Party (PANPRA).

Rightwing candidates were supported by the Mobilisation for National Development (MDN), led by Hubert de Ronceray, the Assembly of Progressive National Democrats (RDNP – Christian Democrat) led by former president of Haiti Lesly Francois Manigat, the Haitian Christian Democratic Party (PDCH) and several smaller parties.

The Movement for the Founding of Democracy in Haiti (MIDH) led by Marc Bazin declared it would abstain from participating at any level in the elections.

Some five journalists and one priest are also candidates for either the Senate or the Chamber of Deputies.

The Electoral Council, meanwhile, received a 400,000 dollar grant from Japan for the purchase of vehicles and communication equipment to help carry on its work of organising and running the elections.

Political observers opined that the security climate had improved with the approach of the elections as the Interim Police Force has received 50 vehicles and motorcycles for patrolling the streets here in the capital and other cities.

One Haitian newspaper, the New York published ''Progres'' declared security had also been boosted by the U.S. decision to start extradition proceedings against Emmanuel Constant, the leader of the extreme-right group FRAPH, held responsible for the deaths of thousands of people opposed to the military dictatorship.

Constant, who has lived in the United States since December as a political refugee, was arrested May 11 by U.S. Immigration Police near his home in the Queens district of New York.

Stanley Schrager, spokesman for the American Embassy here said that the climate of opinion in Haiti believed it was now ''propitious'' to have Constant tried by Haitian courts. (END/IPS/IMC)

Origin: Amsterdam/HAITI-POLITICS/

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