- - Tuesday, December 14, 2010

HAITI

Haitian revote urged in flawed election

PORT-AU-PRINCE | A popular singer-turned-presidential candidate whose apparent loss in Haiti’s flawed election helped spark days of rioting called Tuesday for the electoral commission to be replaced and the vote redone with all the original candidates involved.

The proposal by Michel “Sweet Micky” Martelly was aimed at ending a crisis that has spawned widespread protests, in which three candidates, including him, think they should go to a two-person runoff.

Mirlande Manigat, a former first lady, outpaced the field, but fell well short of the 50 percent needed to win outright.

Controversy erupted when state construction chief Jude Celestin, who is backed by unpopular lame-duck President Rene Preval, edged out the musician and took the second-round spot by less than 1 percent.

Mrs. Manigat has said she is open to compromise, but will likely be reticent to discard results that show her in first place. Mr. Celestin claims a fair count of the existing vote would have given him a first-round victory and is filing a legal challenge.

PAKISTAN

Party defection threatens government

ISLAMABAD | Pakistan’s U.S.-allied ruling coalition was severely undermined Tuesday after a key member said it was joining the opposition because one of its ministers was fired over a corruption scandal.

The announcement by the Islamist party Jamiat Ulema Islam leaves the coalition with just a small majority in the National Assembly and threatens the stability of the weak civilian government whose cooperation is critical to America’s efforts in neighboring Afghanistan.

The party’s leader, Maulana Fazlur Rehman, said it was leaving because one of its ministers was fired after a scandal involving government-organized pilgrimages to Saudi Arabia.

The move will leave President Asif Ali Zardari’s government with less leverage to push through key legislation.

GERMANY

Police raid homes linked to Islamists

BERLIN | German authorities Tuesday morning raided homes and religious schools connected to two radical Islamist groups with suspected terrorist links, the Interior Ministry said.

The raids, in the western cities of Moenchengladbach, Braunschweig and Bremen, were aimed at the Salafist groups Invitation to Paradise and Islamic Culture Center Bremen, ministry spokesman Stefan Paris said in a statement.

The groups are suspected of “wanting to create an Islamic theocracy and working against the democratic order of Germany,” he added.

A security official said authorities searched dozens of private homes as well as religious schools, a small publishing house and a store belonging to Invitation to Paradise that sells face-covering veils for women and caftans for men.

From wire dispatches and staff reports

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