PORT-AU-PRINCE, HAITI, DEC. 19 -- Lt. Gen. Henri Namphy's provisional government issued a new electoral law today that effectively reduces voting secrecy and makes no provision for candidates or journalists to monitor polling.
The new law also sets fines and jail terms likely to limit application of a constitutional provision that was used to prevent leading supporters of the deposed Duvalier regime from running in last month's aborted elections, observers said.
Any citizen who lodges an "unjustified" challenge against a candidate's right to run will be liable for a fine of up to $250 and a 25-day jail term and also could be sued for damages in a civil court, the law says.
The independent electoral board that organized the Nov. 29 elections, which were canceled to curb violence, used evidence supplied by opponents of the former Duvalier regime to disqualify 12 presidential candidates and scores of parliamentary candidates under a clause in the March constitution.
The government has appointed new electoral authorities and rescheduled presidential, legislative and municipal elections for Jan. 17.
The new law reiterates the principle of a secret vote, but observers said that in practice voters will not be guaranteed secrecy.
Under regulations drafted by the disbanded electoral board, voters were to choose from ballots, supplied by the board, while inside a screened booth.
The new rules require candidates to supply their own ballots to voters, which a polling official must check before the voter is allowed to go into a booth to fold his ballots. The voter must hand his ballots back to an official who will place them in a ballot box.
Under the old law, candidates and journalists were to be allowed into voting stations to monitor the polling. The new law has no such provision.