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UN Questions Legitimacy of Haitian Legislative Elections

People mark their ballots during presidential elections in Port-au-Prince, March 21, 2011
People mark their ballots during presidential elections in Port-au-Prince, March 21, 2011

The United Nations and Haiti's major donor nations, including the United States, are questioning whether there was fraud in the final results of legislative elections.

The final voting results announced this week showed that the government reversed the outcome of 18 legislative races from vote totals it had released earlier in the month. All but two of the new results favored candidates from the ruling Unity Party of outgoing President Rene Preval.

The UN said the results "raised serious concerns" about the legitimacy of the vote counting. The final results would give the Unity Party 46 of the 99 seats in the Chamber of Deputies and 17 of the 30 seats in the Senate. Former pop star Michel Martelly won the presidency with two-thirds of the vote, but his fledgling Reypons Peysan party won only three legislative seats.

Martelly said the results are "unacceptable and don't reflect the will of the people." He urged the international community to "not recognize" the results.

The UN released its statement Friday on behalf of the U.S., Brazil, Canada, Spain, France, the European Union and other major donors. Separately, the U.S. Embassy in Port-au-Prince called on the Haitian government for an explanation of the results, saying it could find "no explanation for the reversals." The U.S. noted that in one instance a candidate was listed as having more votes than the total that was cast for all candidates in his district.

Martelly has promised change in Haiti after he is sworn in on May 14. International donors are waiting for a new government before they release billions of dollars to help Haiti overcome its deep poverty, earthquake-shattered infrastructure and cholera epidemic.

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