Alexa

Haiti president's party picks up 5 Senate seats

Haiti president's party picks up 5 Senate seats

President Rene Preval's party won five of 11 contests to fill open Senate seats, according to preliminary results released Monday by the provisional electoral council.
Five other parties won one seat each in the June 21 run-off elections, and another went to a registered independent. A twelfth seat remains vacant after voting in the April first round was canceled in the central plateau region after political violence.
The result was a good one for Preval, giving his Lespwa party 12 seats in the 30-member body, including the nonvoting presidency. That could give him a boost for planned economic reforms sought by the U.S. and other aid donors and for constitutional changes to increase presidential powers that have been limited in the wake of Haiti's dictatorships.
But at least four sitting senators have threatened to try to block the seating of the victors because of extremely low voter turnout in the run-offs and alleged fraud in April's first round.
Turnout in the latest voting was even lower than the 11 percent tallied in the first round. No official percentage has been reported for the June 21 elections, but there were 12,640 fewer valid ballots cast than in April.
On election day, residents of the capital, Port-au-Prince, cited frustration with leaders who have failed to lift them from poverty as their reason for not voting. Many were angry over Preval's opposition to a $3-a-day increase in the minimum wage. Fear also was high after weeks of protests and political party clashes that left several dead.
Another obstacle to getting voters out was a boycott by ousted President Jean-Bertrand Aristide's Fanmi Lavalas party, whose candidates were barred from running.
The low turnout could fuel complaints by the government's opponents that it has stumbled in developing Haiti as a democracy. The 11 Senate seats in play have been vacant for more than a year, with elections postponed repeatedly since late 2007.
Another round of legislative elections is scheduled for later this year, but officials say it is likely the balloting will be postponed.
Campaigning has already begun for Haiti's 2010 presidential election. Preval, who previously served as president from 1995 to 2000, has said he will not seek a third term.


Updated : 2021-03-04 11:51 GMT+08:00