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Six Duvalierists, Two Others Register For Government-Run Elections

December 28, 1987

PORT-AU-PRINCE, Haiti (AP) _ Six officials from the Duvalier regime and two other people have registered so far to run in government-organized presidential elections in January, a judicial official said Monday.

The six former Duvalier officials were barred from competing in the November elections run by the independent Electoral Council because of their ties to former dictator Jean-Claude Duvalier and his father Francois, who ruled for three decades.

Haiti’s military-dominated junta dissolved the council after it canceled the Nov. 29 elections because of the slayings of at least 34 people, many of them voters. The army did nothing to stop the killings by armed thugs and soldiers.

The Haitian Constitution overwhelmingly approved in a March referendum bars Duvalier supporters from running for public office for 10 years. But the new electoral council, which was handpicked by the government, said earlier this month that it would probably not disqualify any candidates.

The eight presidential candidates registered with a regional circuit court in Port-au-Prince, said Justice of the Peace Andre Normil.

The six former Duvalier officials are Clovis Desinor, Claude Raymond, Alphonse Lahens, Edouard Francisque, Jean Julme and Lesage Chery.

Desinor, Lahens and Julme were ministers under Francois Duvalier, Francisque held a ministerial post under Jean-Claude Duvalier and Raymond served as army chief-of-staff during the transition period after the elder Duvalier’s death in 1971. Chery was a congressman during Francois Duvalier’s regime.

The two other registered contenders - Gregoire Eugene and Dieuveuil Joseph - were among 23 candidates who had been approved by the former Electoral Council.

The deadline for registering for the elections is Wednesday.

The four candidates who were considered front-runners in the November elections - Sylvio Claude, Marc Bazin, Louis Dejoie and Gerard Gourgue - have refused to take part in the new balloting and are demanding the resignation of the military-run junta that has ruled since Jean-Claude Duvalier fled to France in February 1986.

Dejoie, Bazin and Gourgue have also rejected a U.S. proposal that they decide on a single candidate acceptable to the voters and the army. Claude was not available for comment.

The proposal was made Saturday by Richard Holwill, U.S. deputy assistant secretary of state for Caribbean affairs. He said it had the backing of France, Canada and the Vatican.

A spokesman for the Papal Nuncio in Haiti, Rev. Paolo Romeo, denied the Vatican had supported the idea.

The four candidates, who have formed a group called the Committee for Democratic Agreement, have accused Desinor, Raymond and Lahens of involvement in killings, arson attacks and terrorism before and during the Nov. 29 balloting.

Foreign election observers have also blamed Duvalier loyalists for the violence.

Before the dissolved Electoral Council disqualified him, Desinor threatened to promote a ″civil war″ if he was disqualified and Lahens said he would ″take up arms.″

Franck Romain, a former chief of police under Francois Duvalier and mayor of Port-au-Prince under Jean-Claude Duvalier, has registered his candidacy for mayor, radio stations reported Monday.

In the early 1960s Romain commanded firing squads during public executions of Duvalier opponents. Hundreds of schoolchildren were forced to watch the executions.

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