Fourteen Men Say They Are Candidates for President
PORT-AU-PRINCE, Haiti (AP) _ Fourteen men said Tuesday they had registered as presidential candidates for government-run elections Jan. 17. Half of them were barred from running earlier because of ties to the ousted Duvalier dictatorship.
In another development, the Information Ministry announced Tuesday that all members of the disbanded Electoral Council were barred from leaving the country pending an investigation.
The independent Electoral Council was dissolved by the government after the Nov. 29 election was called off due to a rampage by thugs who killed 34 people. The election was to have been the first free balloting in Haiti in 30 years.
The government named its own Electoral Council, revised the election law and scheduled elections for Jan. 17.
The government-appointed Electoral Council has not yet released any official list of candidates for president, for the 27 Senate seats or for the 77 seats in the Chamber of Deputies. The deadline to register was Monday midnight.
Seven of the newly registered candidates also ran for president Nov. 29. They are Leslie Manigat, Gerard Philippe-Auguste, Gregoire Eugene, Hubert DeRonceray, Arnold Dumas, Dieuveuil Joseph and Lamaritiere Honorat.
Manigat and Philippe-Auguste said they would withdraw if they detected fraud in the new elections.
Four leading presidential candidates in the November balloting - Gerard Gourgue, Louis Dejoie, Sylvio Claude and Marc Bazin - refused to register as candidates this time.
The seven candidates barred the first time because of ties with the Duvaliers are: Clovis Desinor, Claude Raymond, Alphonse Lahens, Edouard Francisque, Jean Julme, Lesage Chery and Clement Joseph Charles.
The nine-member Electoral Council had ruled the seven candidates could not take part in the first elections because of a clause in the constitution barring anyone who helped keep the Duvalier family in power from running for office for 10 years.
The junta leader, Lt. Gen. Henri Namphy, insists that an election will be held Jan. 17 and that the government will be turned over to a civilian candidate on Feb. 7, the date marking the end of Duvalier family rule two years ago.
On Tuesday night, an Information Ministry spokeswoman, Anaise Chavenet, said, ″There has been a ban issued on the departure of members of the former Electoral Council. They have to give testimony to a commission of inquiry .... Until it is proven that they have a clean administrative record during their mandate they cannot leave the national territory.″
Asked whether they had been charged with anything, she said, ″I don’t know if criminal charges have been filed against them. If charges are brought, it will be in the hands of the courts.″
She said in the telephone interview that the investigation is being conducted by the Ministry of Interior headed by Brig. Gen. Williams Regala, a member of the junta. The third member of the junta is civilian Luc Hector.
A Caribbean Community meeting has been called for Wednesday in Bridgetown, Barbados, to discuss the Haitian political situation. Two officials of the original Electoral Council, Jean-Claude Roy and Jean Robert Sabalat, were stopped at the Port-au-Prince airport by immigration authorities Tuesday and blocked from flying to Barbados for the meeting, Ms. Chavenet said.
″I was accused of nothing, I was given no explanation,″ Roy said in a telephone interview. ″At the airport they took my passport and told me if I wanted to recover it I would have to go to the Interior Ministry.″
Most members of the independent Electoral Council have been in hiding, but one left for the United States shortly after the November election was canceled.
The junta has accused the former council of ″inviting foreign intervention into strictly Haitian affairs″ and ″ostracizing certain sectors of society″ by preventing them from participating in the elections.
Last week, the president of the original council, Ernst Mirville, was stopped at the airport when he tried to travel to Miami for medical treatment.
The Civil Society - a coalition of about 50 civic, political, religious, peasant and human rights organizations - has called on the provisional government to postpone the election and then resign.
A Civil Society spokesman, the Rev. Antoine Adrien of the Roman Catholic Church, told a news conference Tuesday, ″No regime can govern just with bayonets against the unanimous opposition of the nation. We have force.″
The Civil Society asked Haitians living aboard to ″unite their efforts for the creation of a formidable democratic force capable of blocking the road to anti-national Duvalierist reactionaries.″