Haitians jammed polling places this week to vote in the impoverished Caribbean nation’s first presidential election in six years. The front-runner as The Week went to press was former President René Préval, a longtime ally of Jean-Bertrand Aristide, Haiti’s last elected president, although polls suggested he was unlikely to win the majority necessary to escape a March runoff. The field included a leader of the rebel movement that two years ago forced out then-President Aristide. More than 9,000 United Nations peacekeepers fanned out to prevent heavily armed gangs from disrupting the vote, and turnout appeared heavy despite the threat of violence. At least four people died in election-day clashes between police and crowds that overwhelmed some voting places.
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