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Crowds Turn Out to Vote in Haiti, Some Polling Stations Fail to Open


Large crowds have turned out to vote in Haiti's first election since the violent ousting of Jean Bertrand Aristide two years ago.

Some polling stations failed to open on time in urban areas. There are reports of registered voters walking more than a dozen kilometers to reach polling stations, only to find them closed hours after voting was scheduled to start. A VOA correspondent in Port-au-Prince says frustrated would-be voters demolished at least one polling station they found closed.

Rene Preval, who served as president from 1995 to 2000, is considered the front-runner in the field of 33 presidential candidates, but observers doubt he can win the 50 percent necessary to prevent a runoff, scheduled for March 19.

Another top contender, Paul Denis, of the OPL, Organization of People in Struggle party, told VOA Tuesday he has doubts the election will be legitimate because of the disorganization and violence.

More than 9,000 U.N. peacekeepers have been deployed to provide security for the vote.

Some information for this report was provided by AFP, AP and Reuters.