Preval urged to schedule runoff

Jan. 24, 2011 at 6:52 PM
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PORT-AU-PRINCE, Haiti, Jan. 24 (UPI) -- Haitian President Rene Preval's government could risk not being recognized internationally if he doesn't schedule a runoff election soon, diplomats said.

Some international leaders agreed Sunday that if Preval ignores scheduling a runoff and stays in office beyond Feb. 7, they would request that the Organization of American States begin consultations at the council level to declare Preval illegitimate based on the Democratic Charter of the Americas, The Miami Herald reported Monday.

"No recognition of him as president (or) Jean-Max Bellerive as prime minister after that," a diplomat told the newspaper anonymously because of the issue's sensitive nature.

Haitian authorities recently raised the idea of canceling the presidential elections and conducting a first and second round before May 14. Haitian senators previously agreed to allow Preval to remain in office until May 14, if his successor had not been elected by Feb. 7.

But the international community has grown restless with the Preval and his seeming unwillingness to vacate his office, the Times said. The Obama administration last week ratcheted up pressure on Haiti by revoking U.S. visas "for a number of" Haitian government officials and citizens close to Preval.

Preliminary election results had Jude Celestin headed into a runoff with former first lady Mirlande Manigat. But the OAS report contends the runoff should be between Manigat and musician Michel "Sweet Micky" Martelly and that Celestin should step aside.

Preval and Bellerive took exception with the report, arguing its methodology, based on a review of 234 tally sheets, is flawed, the Times said.

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