Violence limited before Haitian elections

Nov. 19, 2010 at 11:23 AM

PORT-AU-PRINCE, Haiti, Nov. 19 (UPI) -- Violence in Haiti as national elections approach has been limited to attacks on peacekeeping troops blamed for bringing cholera to the country, officials say.

The level of recent violence seems tame, U.S. Ambassador Kenneth Merten told The Washington Post.

"By Haiti standards, it has been quite peaceful," Merten said.

The elections are set for Nov. 28.

Haitians will elect a president, 10 senators and 99 deputies.

"I've not met anybody we can't work with," Merten said in reference to the top contenders in the elections.

A U.N. spokeswoman denied the peacekeepers were responsible for the cholera outbreak.

Haiti's presidential election -- coming after a devastating earthquake in January, a recent hurricane and the spread of cholera -- is focused on personalities instead of parties or issues, observers said. The big question for Haitians is whether to continue President Rene Preval's policies by backing his handpicked successor, Jude Celestin, who ran the state road-building agency, or favor one of 18 candidates who pledge to shake things up, the Post reported.

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