UN Threatens To Leave Haiti If Vote Ignored - Atlanta News, Weather, Traffic, and Sports | FOX 5

UN Threatens To Leave Haiti If Vote Ignored

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The international community will stop supporting Haiti if the government fails to honor the outcome of recent elections, chief UN peacekeeper Edmond Mulet said Thursday.

"The international community will pull out of Haiti and the country will not benefit from international support and resources if the popular will is not respected," Mulet warned in an interview as the country awaited results from Sunday's presidential and legislative elections.

Tensions continue to simmer in Haiti with its political future hanging in the balance, as protesters have renewed charges of vote-rigging and cholera fears led to deadly mob violence.

As vote-counting continued ahead of the expected release of preliminary results on Tuesday, candidates in last weekend's presidential and legislative elections remained split over whether to endorse the outcome.

With the impoverished Caribbean nation in limbo, several hundred opposition demonstrators peacefully took to the streets of Port-au-Prince seeking annulment of the vote to determine the successor to Rene Preval.

"Arrest Preval!... Cancel the election!" the protesters shouted as they made their way to the headquarters of the election commission, which was guarded by blue-helmeted UN peacekeepers and Haitian anti-riot police.

"Our message is clear: We want Preval to go and we do not want elections with him in power," said candidate Jacques Edouard Alexis.

Twelve of the 18 contenders rejected Sunday's election shortly after polls closed, but the following day longtime opposition leader and pre-election favorite Mirlande Manigat and popular musician Michel Martelly, another leading candidate, reversed their calls for the polls to be scrapped.

An unexpected admission from the ruling INITE (UNITY) party that its candidate Jude Celestin may have lost has fueled a sense that Haiti could experience a political watershed if the dysfunctional, failing nation is able to manage a relatively peaceful transition of power.

International monitors -- while acknowledging widespread problems including violence and claims of fraud -- declared the elections valid. Final results are expected on December 20.

But the stubborn cholera epidemic, which has claimed more than 1,800 lives since mid-October, cast a shadow over the first election since a massive earthquake tore the country apart in January, killing some 250,000 people.

The epidemic took a ghastly turn Thursday when officials revealed that at least 12 people had been stoned or hacked to death in the last week by angry mobs accusing them of trying to spread cholera through witchcraft.


Copyright 2010 AFP. All rights reserved.

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