The Miami Herald
May 24, 2000

Candidate is killed in Haiti in post-election violence

 From Herald Wire Services

 PORT-AU-PRINCE -- Haiti's disorganized but generally peaceful elections claimed
 the life of Jean-Michel Olophene, a minor party candidate for mayor of
 Port-au-Prince, who died as the result of a clash between his supporters and
 followers of the Lavalas Party of former President Jean-Bertrand Aristide.

 Olophene, of the Assembly of Patriotic Citizens (RCP), was hit in the head by a
 rock during the melee Monday night in downtown Port-au-Prince.

 Meanwhile, thousands of valid ballots from legislative and municipal polls
 inexplicably littered a main street outside the capital's main voting station. Several
 witnesses said the ballots were tossed from a truck Monday morning.

 An electoral official told reporters that copies of statements taken at local polling
 stations, which are essential to any vote count, had been recovered.

 Sunday's elections appeared largely peaceful, but six opposition parties joined
 forces to accuse the ruling Lavalas Party of ``stuffing ballot boxes and
 discrimination'' against their supporters who saw ``access blocked to numerous
 polling places.''

 The group also denounced aggression by armed men who, they said, stole ballot
 boxes after the polls closed. They also said a million ballots had mysteriously
 disappeared, a charge that election officials disputed.

 The Lavalas Party dismissed the allegations, saying they came from ``some
 politicians with no connection to the people.''

 An international observer praised the high voter turnout but remained cautious
 about the outcome.

 The Organization of American States estimated that between 50 and 60 percent
 of the nation's four million-plus registered voters turned out amid tight security.
 Haiti has a population of about eight million people.

 At stake in Sunday's election is Haiti's future parliamentary majority with its hefty
 constitutional powers.

 The parliamentary contest -- with a runoff vote scheduled June 25 -- and municipal
 elections were called to choose 19 senators, 83 members of the Chamber of
 Deputies, 133 mayors and 7,124 officials in local population centers.

 Haiti has been without a parliament or popularly elected city councils for more
 than a year due to a standoff between President Rene Preval and opposition
 parties formerly in control of the legislature.