PORT-AU-PRINCE, HAITI, NOV. 4 -- Arsonists hurled a firebomb through the window of a political party office, and a member of Haiti's independent Electoral Council said men tried to break into his home as preelection violence persisted today.

"It is assassins and arsonists that rule this country," said the Electoral Council member, Emmanuel Ambroise.

Three men tried to force their way into his house and to burn an Electoral Council car in his driveway today, he reported.

Yesterday Ambroise's hardware business was set ablaze and destroyed and the Electoral Council's headquarters was burned.

A gasoline bomb caused minor damage today to the headquarters of the Christian Democratic Party, Radio Haiti Internationale said. Guards inside stamped out the flames. The building was strafed with gunfire yesterday.

Radio stations also reported that a neighborhood electoral board in the Port-au-Prince suburb of Petionville was sacked during the night.

{"We deplore these actions aimed at derailing Haiti's elections and transition to democracy," State Department spokesman Charles Redman said in Washington, according to United Press International. "We hope that Haitians will not be deterred in their preparations for the historic elections which are coming up.

{"As we've said in the past, we stand firmly behind the people of Haiti in their efforts to bring democracy to their country and to reject the Duvalier era."}

Ambroise said he held the military-dominated junta directly accountable for Haiti's problems.

"The only one responsible for all of the suffering in the country is the government," he said. "It is {junta members} Williams Regala, Henri Namphy and Luc Hector."

Ambroise, whose brother was tortured to death by militiamen loyal to president-for-life Francois Duvalier in the 1960s, said that "the people who set fire to the Electoral Council" were the same ones who tried to break into his home shortly after midnight.

"We called the police for help but they refused to come. Therefore I hold {the junta} responsible for the security of my family's lives," he said in the statement broadcast on the radio.

A statement issued by the Information Ministry said the government was "stupefied" by the burning of the electoral headquarters and appointed a committee to bring the guilty to trial.

The government "deplores this fire and will take adequate security measures to guarantee the progress of the electoral process," the statement said.

Haitians are to go to the polls Nov. 29 for the first free elections in at least 30 years. They will be voting for a president and National Assembly to replace the junta that has ruled this Caribbean nation since former president-for-life Jean-Claude Duvalier fled to France 21 months ago.

Duvalier's departure ended a 29-year dictatorship started by his father, Francois. Local elections are set for Dec. 20.

In June, the junta, formerly known as the National Governing Council, tried to take control of the elections away from the Electoral Council, setting off widespread protests and strikes.

Since then soldiers have shot and killed more than 30 persons during protests, at least 50 bullet-riddled bodies have been found in the streets, a presidential candidate and a well-known politician have been murdered and an opposition leader has been sent into exile.

Electoral Council member Marc Guerrier said the council wrote the government three times asking protection, but received no response. Council members have been receiving death threats daily.

Guerrier said he believed Duvalier loyalists set the blaze at council headquarters. Four of Haiti's leading presidential candidates also blamed the violence on Duvalier supporters.

The fire began hours after 12 candidates with links to the Duvalier family were barred from running for president. Haiti's new constitution prohibits known Duvalier supporters from seeking public office.