Wednesday, April 29, 2009

No winners emerge from Senate elections in Haiti; June runoff set

Port-au-Prince, Haiti - None of the candidates running for 12 Senate seats in Haiti achieved a majority of votes in the April 19 elections, paving the way for a June runoff, the election commission said. Turnout for the voting, in which 78 candidates were running, was 12 per cent, the commission said Tuesday in Port-au-Prince.

Voting was marred by a boycott by supporters of former president Jean-Bertrand Aristide, who was deposed in 1991 and again in 2004, as well as a halt to public transportation in Port-au-Prince by authorities and a raid and shooting of an election official at one polling station by protestors.

The inconclusive results meant that 40 per cent of the 30-member upper house of the National Assembly remained unoccupied in the Western Hemisphere's poorest nation, which has been beset by years of political and societal unrest.

A third of the Senate's seats come up for election every two years. This year, two other seats were also empty after one senator died and another was removed from office.

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