Haitian prime minister vows elections will go ahead according to new timetable

Haiti's prime minister vowed Wednesday that elections in his country would go ahead as planned after three delays, saying that Haiti wants to be a "credible country."

Gerard Latortue, appearing before a group of U.N. member states helping to bring about the elections, blamed the latest delay on problems distributing voter identification cards. He said the glitches were now fixed.

"At the very last moment, we encountered problems with the distribution of cards," Latortue said. "We have taken measures to ensure election cards are distributed in time."

The election, which had been set for December, will be the first since a rebellion forced the ouster of President Jean-Bertrand in February 2004. Last week, Haiti's electoral commission said it needed more time and set a new date of Jan. 8 for presidential and legislative elections, followed by a Feb. 15 runoff.

It was the third time elections had been pushed back.

Latortue said Haiti's current leaders were eager to make way for a properly elected government.

"This isn't in any way breaking the promises that have been made," he told ambassadors at the meeting. "The interim government does not wish to remain in power any longer."

Later, he added: "Haiti will become a credible country."

The United Nations brought a 7,600-strong peacekeeping mission to Haiti in June, 2004, and has trained thousands of civilians to act as security personnel at the polls, AP reported. V.A.

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