Haiti's elections set for October and November
Haitian officials Monday announced dates in October and November for local and national elections to fill a political vacuum left by last year's ouster of President Jean-Bertrand Aristide.
Representatives of Aristide's Lavalas Party have said they will only participate in elections if the interim government ends what they call the arbitrary arrest and detention of Aristide loyalists.
The Provisional Electoral Council said 7,000 local and regional posts will be contested on Oct. 9, while the election for Haiti's president and 129 legislators will take place on Nov. 13. Elected officials will take office in January and February 2006.
So far, 91 political parties have registered with the government with about 50 more expected to sign up, U.N. elections officer Gerardo Le Chevallier said. He said about 100 presidential candidates are expected to participate.
The elections will be financed by $26.5 million in funds from Canada, the United States, Haiti and the United Nations. The European Union has pledged an additional $12 million.
Aristide was toppled Feb. 29 after a three-week revolt led by street gangs and former soldiers of the army he disbanded in 1995, shortly after the United States sent troops to restore him to power after a 1991 army coup. Aristide has accused U.S. forces of kidnapping him and forcing him from office. The United States has strongly denied the charge.
Armed ex-soldiers and former rebels who helped overthrow Aristide still control parts of the country, and violence in pro-Aristide slums has killed more than 250 people since Sept. 30.
Interim Prime Minister Gerard Latortue has accused Aristide of coordinating the violence from exile in South Africa, a claim the former leader denies.