PORT-AU-PRINCE, Haiti (AP) -- Haiti will hold its long-delayed local and
legislative elections in two rounds on March 19 and April 30, the provisional
electoral council announced Wednesday.
The entire 83-seat lower house, 19 seats in the 27-seat upper house, 133
municipal councils, and hundreds of local and consultative assemblies will be
More than half of Haiti's 8 million people are eligible to vote.
The elections have been postponed three times. Officials first said elections
would be in November, then pushed them back to January. Officials blamed
the postponements on accumulated delays in writing election bylaws and
hiring election officials, as well as the precaution to avoid end-of-year and
March carnival festivities.
There will be a second-round of balloting for parliamentary posts if no
candidate wins more than 50 percent of total first-round votes. Local posts
will be won with a simple majority.
President Rene Preval had dismissed the former parliament in March and
unconstitutionally appointed a new premier and a nine-member council by
"We want to return to constitutional norms," Premier Jacques-Edouard
Alexis said at a Wednesday news conference. "We don't want to prolong
the government's term of office."
The electoral council did not say when the new parliament, which will
confirm a new premier and ministers, would be installed.
Candidates will declare their candidacies between Nov. 15 and Dec. 10.
The council will announce the validated list of candidates between Dec. 26
and Jan. 4.
There are more than 50 registered Haitian political parties. An estimated
50,000 candidates will run for local offices alone.
The United States has earmarked $10 million to $15 million for electoral
assistance. Last month, the U.S. Agency for International Development
disbursed $3.5 million to pay for photo voter identity cards.
Copyright 1999 The Associated Press