The New Yorh Times
June 19, 2000

Haiti's Top Election Official Flees Nation for U.S.


          PORT-AU-PRINCE, Haiti, June 18 -- Haiti's top election official
          has fled the country, fearing for his life after he refused to approve
          results for last month's contested legislative and local elections, sources
          said today.

          The election official, Léon Manus, crossed the border on Friday into the
          Dominican Republic and flew to Miami on Saturday, according to two
          diplomats and a leading Haitian businessman. Friends of Mr. Manus said
          he was flying to Boston today to join a daughter who lives there.

          His departure has cast still more doubt on the fairness of an election that
          Haitians hoped would finally give them a functioning democracy and
          unfreeze a half-billion dollars in international aid held up by a long political
          deadlock here.

          Publication of the results of the May 21 election has been delayed, with
          opposition parties charging that the voting and the count were fixed to
          ensure a massive victory for the Lavalas Family party of the country's
          former president, Jean-Bertrand Aristide.

          Despite numerous irregularities, local and international observers said the
          May elections were acceptable. However, they disputed the electoral
          council's method of determining first-round winners. A second round is
          scheduled for June 25.

          "Manus's hurried departure in fear for his life shows that Haiti is not a
          democracy and expresses a decent man's rejection of manipulated
          election results," a Haitian economist, Hervé Denis, said today.

          On Friday, Aristide supporters set tires aflame in downtown
          Port-au-Prince to back their demands that results giving Lavalas a
          sweeping lead be published immediately.

          There was no immediate public response today to the flight of Mr.
          Manus, president of the country's electoral council. Few know about it
          because there are no regular radio news reports on Sundays in Haiti.