The Brazilian government commended the way the Haitian general elections have been handled after charges of vote-counting irregularities were made.

    The Provisional Electoral Council (PEC) declared René Préval, of the Lespwa Party (which means "hope" in creole), the victor.

    Wednesday, February 15, Yesterday (15), the Brazilian presidential advisor on International Affairs, Marco Aurélio Garcia, argued that this decision represents the best way to control the protest demonstrations in Haiti.

    The Brazilian Minister of Foreign Relations, Celso Amorim, declared that the decision to proclaim Préval the new president was taken by the officials and members of that country’s PEC and that the Brazilian government had nothing to do with the decision.

    "The proclamation was unanimously approved by all the members present at the PEC meeting," Amorim said, denying reports that the Brazilian government had participated in the negotiations that permitted Préval’s victory.

    Amorim emphasized that Préval was elected president after the PEC decided to allot the blank votes proportionally among the presidential candidates, thus permitting the favorite of the poor masses to attain a majority of the votes.

    This decision was based on the Haitian Constitution, which allows blank votes to be included when calculating the candidates’ percentages of the ballot.

    "This was the solution discovered by the Haitians. They simply adhered to the law," Amorim pointed out.

    "We didn’t negotiate anything at all. All we did, throughout the process, was to state our desire for a speedy solution to calm the situation in the country."

    Préval had been leading the vote count, with around 48% of the votes in the last preliminary result. But he needed 50% plus one to be elected in the first round.

    As a result of the decision to apportion the blank votes among all the presidential candidates, he was declared the winner, with 51.15%, eliminating the need for a runoff.

    Leslie Manigat came in second, with around 11% of the votes. Préval had previously been president of the country, between 1996 and 2001.

    Agência Brasil

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