The Miami Herald
March 4, 2000

 Problems force Haiti to postpone elections

 PORT-AU-PRINCE -- (AP) -- Dogged by organizational problems that left more
 than a million voters unregistered, Haiti on Friday postponed elections scheduled
 March 19, without specifying a new date.

 The announcement came hours after the U.N. Security Council urged Haiti to
 stick ``as closely as possible'' to its schedule for elections, which it said were
 crucial to the Caribbean nation's fledgling democracy.

 ``A new electoral timetable for the balloting will be published as soon as
 possible,'' electoral council spokesman Roland Sainristil said. He cited
 ``innumerable difficulties surrounding voter registration.''

 President Rene Preval had called legislative and municipal elections after
 dissolving Parliament in January 1999 to end a political impasse that had
 paralyzed Haiti's government since disputed elections in 1997.

 Two rounds of voting were originally set for November and December, then
 delayed to March 19 and April 30. About 29,300 candidates are slated to run for
 more than 1,000 local and parliamentary offices.

 Voter registration was supposed to end Friday, but the council announced that it
 would extend it to March 15.

 About 2.9 million people -- out of a possible 4 million who were eligible -- have
 registered, leaving more than 1 million unregistered. The electoral council was
 plagued by shortages of materials, pay and staffing disputes, problems in renting
 offices, and thefts of registration documents.

 The international community is paying half of the $20 million election budget.