PORT-AU-PRINCE – Haiti's electoral council has banned the influential party of exiled former President Jean-Bertrand Aristide from running in next year's legislative elections.
Fanmi Lavalas is among the 17 parties barred from February's elections because it submitted improper documents, provisional council spokesman Richardson Dumesle said Thursday.
Aristide, who has been living in exile in South Africa after he was overthrown during a 2004 rebellion, called the decision "an electoral coup d'etat" in an interview late Wednesday with Radio Metropole.
Lavalas party also was banned from the 2006 presidential elections and it boycotted Senate run-off elections in June after the council disqualified its candidates on a technicality.
Lavalas officials did not answer phone calls seeking comment on Thursday. The party is one of Haiti's largest.
Executive council head Maryse Narcisse told Radio Solidarite late Wednesday that she did not understand why the party was rejected.
The council approved 53 parties to run in the elections. They are now scheduled for Feb. 28, but might be postponed to coincide with presidential elections later in the year.
Parties can appeal rejections.
Haiti's legislature chose a new prime minister last week as tensions remain high over the presence of 9,000 U.N. peacekeepers, who arrived in the impoverished country after the 2004 rebellion.
Jean-Max Bellerive is the sixth prime minister to hold the post since 2004.