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03 June, 2005 - Published 22:42 GMT

Doubts over Haiti election

There are fresh doubts today about whether Haiti is in any shape to hold elections from October.

A member of the council charged with organising the poll said the vote should be postponed because preparations are not up to speed, and the situation in the country is too violent and unstable.

The chairman of the nine member electoral operations commission Patrick Fequiere said their work has been made much more difficult, because the European Union has frozen a $9 million grant to them.

The reason given was that they do not have a functioning administration, and are not properly set up to organise and run general elections.

The feeling among election workers is that it's going to physically impossible to conclude the registration exercise, and as a result there'll be too little time to organise elections everyone can trust.

His assessment has been backed up by a grassroots group involved in the electoral process.

CNO, the non-governmental organization supervising the electoral process, said that even under ideal circumstances it would be impossible to register more than 4 million people in less than 60 days.

Elections officers cannot do their work and cite delays in getting money to fund their operations and the violence which has left more than a dozen people dead this week alone.

Local government elections are scheduled for October 9, while legislative and presidential elections are set for November 13 with a possible runoff a week before Christmas.

The general election will choose a president to replace Jean-Bertrand Aristide, who left office more than a year ago, in circumstances that are still disputed.