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Candidates Say They’ll Bow Out of Elections If Junta Stays In Control

December 1, 1987

PORT-AU-PRINCE, Haiti (AP) _ Two leading presidential candidates on Monday rejected any elections organized by the ruling junta, adding to the unlikelihood Haiti can salvage plans for the first free balloting in 30 years.

A third candidate virtually ruled out his participation in such a vote.

Haitians stayed home Monday, fearful of deadly streets where men with machine guns and machetes killed at least 34 people and wounded 75 in a weekend of terror that destroyed elections.

The violence forced the cancelation of elections that would have given this impoverished Caribbean nation its first elected president and legislature since 1957, when Francois ″Papa Doc″ Duvalier began the family dictatorship that ended Feb. 7, 1986.

″No elections are possible under the junta. They’re the ones shooting people,″ said Sylvio Claude, a presidential candidate and founder of the Christian Democratic Party.

Another candidate, Marc Bazin, leader of the Movement for the Installation of Democracy in Haiti, demanded that elections be run by the Provisional Electoral Council, according to his press secretary, Leslie Paen.

The junta dissolved the independent council on Sunday, saying the institution could remain but the current members could not. The council’s leaders were in hiding Monday.

The council had repeatedly complained that the government and military were not protecting its workers and the candidates from attack.

After dissolving the council, junta leader Lt. Gen. Henri Namphy said on television that he still planned to hold elections so a new government could be inaugurated next Feb. 7, as scheduled.

A third candidate, Louis Dejoie, leader of the National Agricultural and Industrial Party, gave Namphy three days to explain how he would arrange the elections.

Without such an explanation, ″we would refuse to participate in any election,″ Dejoie said in an interview.

Balloting Sunday was to choose a government to replace Namphy’s provisional junta which took power after dictator Jean-Claude Duvalier fled to France in February 1986.

Claude, Bazin and Dejoie, along with Gerard Gourgue of the National Front for Concerted Action, were considered the front-runners in the presidential election. Gourgue could not be reached for comment.

The elections were called off Sunday three hours after voting began when gunmen and soldiers set fire to polling stations, confiscated ballots and attacked voters with guns and machetes.

Assistant morgue director Merite Meridien said 34 bodies had been delivered by Monday. Raphael Faustin, administrative director of the State University Hospital, said 75 people had been admitted with bullet wounds.

″They came with machetes and guns. I tried to run away. They shot me from behind,″ said Orolene Baptiste, 34, one of several people wounded when gunmen attacked a polling station and slaughtered 15 people.

Claude asked that an international military force be sent to the poverty- stricken Caribbean nation to supervise a new election.

″We call on a group of nations - the Organization of American States or the United Nations - to send multinational forces to conduct elections if the United States, the boss of the junta, doesn’t force it to step down,″ said the 53-year-old Protestant clergyman.

Haitians often accuse the United States of being the power behind the three-man junta led by Lt. Gen. Henri Namphy.

Dejoie and three other presidential candidates - Leslie Manigat, Francois Latortue and Thomas Desulme - rejected the idea, as did Namphy.

Walter E. Fauntroy, Democratic delegate to Congress from the District of Columbia and chairman of the congressional task force on Haiti, said the United States should intervene.

The State Department announced the immediate end of U.S. military and other non-humanitarian aid, and the withdrawal of military advisers.

Secretary of State George P. Shultz blamed supporters of the younger Duvalier for the violence. Duvalier appealed for calm Monday from France, where he lives in exile.

In other developments, the Dominican Republic closed its border with Haiti Monday because of the unrest. A Dominican air force plane evacuated a dozen Dominican reporters and anyone else who wanted to leave, said the country’s foreign minister, Donald Reid Cabral.

The plane also transported the body of television cameraman Carlos Grullon, who was killed by gunfire Sunday.

Radio Metropole was the only station broadcasting news Monday. Radio Lumiere, a Protestant station, was knocked off the air by a fire last week and soldiers with flame throwers destroyed the transmitter of the Roman Catholic church’s Radio Soleil, the station’s co-director said.

Reporters for Radio Haiti Inter stayed home out of fear.

Sunday’s attacks climaxed a week of pre-election violence in which at least 28 people were killed, a huge market in the capital was burned, and ballots and campaign literature were seized and destroyed.

There were 22 candidates for the presidency and 328 candidates for 104 seats in the bicameral National Assembly.

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