Aristide Vows End To Election-Related Crisis After Latest Meeting Boycotted, Leader Gives Himself ‘12 Hours’

President Jean-Bertrand Aristide on Wednesday promised a quick end to a political crisis provoked by flawed elections and major parties’ threats to boycott the next balloting.

“We will find a solution within 12 hours,” Aristide said of the controversy, which threatened internationally backed efforts to set Haiti on the path to democracy.

On Tuesday, he invited leaders of political parties and the nine-member Electoral Council to meet to address opposition demands to replace council members and discuss whether to hold makeup elections as scheduled Aug. 6.

Four of the six biggest parties boycotted Wednesday’s meeting.

“We’re waiting for the complete dissolution of the electoral council. We don’t want to be manipulated,” said Evans Paul, former Port-au-Prince mayor and co-leader of the National Front for Change and Democracy.

Aristide also met privately with council president Anselme Remy, the man criticized most for the chaos that prevented more than 100,000 people from voting in June 25 legislative and local elections.

Hundreds of voting stations never opened.

Ballot papers were burned before and after voting.

Marked ballots were not secured, and the counting was tainted.

Opposition parties accused the electoral council of engineering the victory of the pro-Aristide Lavalas Platform.

Lavalas had been expected to sweep the ballot because it was backed by Aristide, who was restored to power last fall by a U.S.-led force after three years in exile.

The army had ousted the elected president in 1991.

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