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Monitor: Huge vote fraud absent in Haiti

  |   Nov. 30, 2010 at 8:09 AM
PORT-AU-PRINCE, Haiti, Nov. 30 (UPI) -- International observers monitoring Haiti's elections said they saw irregularities but not the massive fraud alleged by the country's presidential candidates.

The observers findings challenged statements made before voting ended Sunday by 12 of the 19 presidential hopefuls who called for the election to be declared invalid, saying outgoing President Rene Preval fixed the process so his protege, Jude Celestin, could win, The Washington Post reported Tuesday.

Ambassador Colin Granderson, leader of the joint monitoring team from the Organization of American States and the Caribbean Community, said Monday the candidates' statement was "precipitous, hasty and regrettable."

Granderson, of Trinidad and Tobago, said that the international group reported problems at the polls but the issues weren't extensive enough to warrant the invalidation of the election.

"We're aware of the perceptions that things went badly, but we've looked very carefully at what took place in voting centers and tried to be as objective as we could," he said, adding that monitors found the voting process disrupted at only 4 percent of the stations.

Final tallies aren't expected until Dec. 7 at the earliest, officials said. The Post reported it is likely that at least one of the two top vote-getters -- who would face each other in a Jan. 16 runoff -- is among the 12 candidates who called for the results to be tossed.

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