Thousands of people in Haiti demand ex-president to be winner

Thousands of people have taken to the streets in Haiti to demand that ex-President Rene Preval be declared the winner of last week's election.

With three quarters of the votes counted, Mr Preval is just short of the 50% percent required to win outright. But his supporters say he should be declared president without having to face a run-off next month.

Mr Preval used to be an ally of former President Jean-Bertrand Aristide, who was forced out of power two years ago.

The front-runner, who has inherited Mr Aristide's strong support among the poor, is leading more than 30 presidential candidates.

But his share of the vote has dropped to 49.1%. He held 61% of the vote after the first results were released late last week.

Another ex-leader, Leslie Manigat's has 11.7% of the vote, while industrialist Charles Henri Baker has 8%, electoral officials say.

Correspondents say there is uncertainty over when the final outcome of Tuesday's vote will be known - the announcement had initially been scheduled for Sunday evening.

This weekend, supporters marched in the Haitian capital, Port-au-Prince, insisting that Mr Preval had won.

They blew horns and pounded drums outside the headquarters of the electoral council. Many hold up photographs of the front-runner while chanting "Preval president".

"If they don't give us Preval, there will be no peace," a 46-year-old woman, who called herself Marie, was quoted by Reuters news agency as saying, reports BBC news.

I.L.