PRESIDENTIAL candidate, Rene Preval, has condemned the ‘gigantic fraud’ during last week’s elections in Haiti, where an insurrection is taking place by his poverty-stricken supporters.
Boxes of what appeared to be partly burned ballot papers marked for Preval were discovered in a dump on the outskirts of the capital, Port au Prince.
Haitians took to the streets shouting, ‘Preval for president! Stop burning the votes!’
Throngs of people have paralysed the capital and towns across the Caribbean island, setting up flaming barricades in anger at reports that ‘provisional results’ did not give Preval enough votes to be made president.
UN ‘peacekeepers’ opened fire on enraged crowds who demanded the immediate removal of the ‘interim government’.
Preval said that ‘gross errors’ had stained the election process and added: ‘The Haitian people are frustrated. They have a right to be frustrated. And they have the right to protest.’
But he urged his supporters to ‘respect private property’ and ‘respect the law’.
Preval rejected election results released so far that showed him with a wide margin against his nearest opponent, Leslie Manigat, but slightly short of the 50 per cent-plus-one vote that he needs to avoid a run-off.
The initial results gave Preval 48.7 per cent of an estimated 90 per cent of the votes. But 85,000 ballot papers were declared ‘blank’ and 120,000 ‘void’.
Furious Preval supporters said tens of thousands of Haitians would not have walked for hours to polling stations and stood in lines to cast ‘blank’ votes.
In the name of his LESPWA coalition, Preval demanded that the electoral authorities withhold announcing the final results and conduct a transparent recount.
Preval is seen by Haiti’s masses as the successor to elected Haitian President Jean-Bertrand Aristide, who was forced into exile in an American-backed coup two years ago.
A 9,300-strong UN ‘peacekeeping’ force has been occupying the country since then.
‘If you publish the results the way they are now, LESPWA will contest, and the people will contest,’ Preval said.
A commission is being hastily set up to ‘review’ the vote, before an official announcement of the final result is made.
US imperialism has been struggling to reimpose its political control over Haiti, ever since the CIA-backed dictatorship of ‘Baby Doc’ Duvalier was overthrown in 1986.