News and opinions on situation in Haiti

Préval declared winner in Haiti, CBC News 16 Feb 2006



Haiti’s interim government and the electoral council have declared René Préval the winner of the presidential election, ending frantic negotiations to stop violent street demonstrations in the impoverished Caribbean nation.

“René Préval has been declared the winner with 51 per cent,” said Max Mathurin, the head of Haiti’s electoral council, said early Thursday morning on the radio.

“We feel a huge satisfaction at having liberated the country from a truly difficult situation.”

With 90 per cent of the ballots counted from the Feb. 7 vote, Préval had been slightly short of the 50 per cent margin needed to win.

But under the agreement, which was brokered by Brazil, 85,000 blank votes that had been cast were discounted, giving Préval a 51.15 per cent share of the vote.

The simple majority prevents a March 19 runoff election.

The vote triggered days of massive street protests, as tens of thousands of Préval’s supporters marched through Port-Au-Prince, accusing his opponents of rigging the vote count.

On Wednesday, Préval called the election a “gigantic fraud” and vowed to contest the results as his supporters accused the country’s rich elite, foreign governments and the United Nations of conspiring to keep him out of office.

Earlier in the week, local television broadcast footage of official voting bags, marked ballots and other election materials found smouldering in a garbage dump.

International observers had said the vote was legitimate, with no evidence of fraud.

Forwarded by the Haitian Lawyers Leadership Network

Préval, a former protegé of ousted Haitian president Jean-Bertrand Aristide, was president from 1996 to 2001. He will take office on March 29.

Main Index >> Haiti Index