We are on `dangerous` road: Haiti`s President

Verification process has begun in a bid to break political impasse in Haiti.

Port-au-Prince: Haitian President Rene Preval warned on Saturday that a political impasse over a disputed Presidential Elections has put his quake-hit Caribbean nation on a "dangerous" course.

"This is a dangerous road we are on. In addition to natural disasters, we are in a political crisis following the November 28, 2010 elections," Preval said on television from the northern city of Gonaives as the country marked 207 years of independence from France.

International monitors have started a verification process aimed at breaking the political impasse in Haiti following the disputed elections.

A 10-strong OAS team made up of statisticians and electoral and legal experts from the United States, Chile, Canada, France and Jamaica began their verification work on Thursday.

No public statements are expected during a process expected to last several days before a report is presented to Preval, probably next week.

Official results of the November 28 polls had former first lady Mirlande Manigat in the lead with 31 percent of the vote, followed by ruling party candidate Jude Celestin with 22 percent.

But the count was rejected by popular singer Michel Martelly, who trailed Celestin in third by fewer than 7,000 votes and charged that Preval had rigged the vote in favour of his candidate.

The two top vote getters in the first round are supposed to advance to a run-off on January 16 to decide who will succeed Preval.

Preval, whose term ends February 07, has suggested that he could remain in office until May to allow time for the electoral impasse to be resolved.

"A legitimate president and legitimate lawmakers must replace the president, senators and deputies," Preval said, urging Haitians to respect the Constitution to avoid "an even more serious crisis."

"Reconstruction in the country, which was ravaged by a 2010 earthquake, the fight against cholera which has left more than 3,000 people dead, make stability essential in our political life," he stressed.

A quarter of a million people were killed in a devastating earthquake in January 2010, levelling the capital and destabilising one of the world`s poorest countries.

Bureau Report