Mrs. Clinton urges candidate in Haiti’s election to quit

U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton says the United States has no plans to suspend aid to earthquake-ravaged Haiti.

On a one-day visit to the Caribbean nation Sunday, Mrs. Clinton said the U.S. wants Haiti to adopt the internationally backed solution to an election dispute and to drop the president’s chosen successor from the second round of elections that is set for March 20.

Monitors from the Organization of American States have urged outgoing President Rene Preval’s preferred candidate, Jude Celestin, to withdraw from the runoff election. Those monitors have said they found evidence of widespread fraud in Celestin’s favor, in preliminary results from the first-round of voting on Nov. 28.

Those results showed Celestin securing second place, narrowly qualifying him for the run-off ahead of the apparent third-place finisher, popular singer Michel Martelly. The election front-runner, former Haitian first lady Mirlande Manigat, was in first place.

Mrs. Clinton is in Haiti to try to mediate the crisis through talks with Preval and three candidates vying to succeed him.

The publication of preliminary results last month triggered days of violent protests by opposition supporters angered by what they saw as vote-rigging by Haiti’s government.

Haiti’s ruling party has urged Celestin to pull out of the presidential race, but he has not confirmed his exit. Haiti’s election commission has said it will publish final results of the disputed first round of voting on Wednesday.

Haiti is struggling to recover from last year’s earthquake that left more than 200,000 people dead and 1 million others homeless.

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