PORT-AU-PRINCE, Haiti -- Rene Preval, a former president seen as a champion of the poor, appeared headed toward victory Thursday as the first partial returns put him in the lead in Haiti's presidential election.
Preval won 61.5 percent of 282,327 valid votes counted so far, Haiti's electoral council said. It refused to say what percentage of the total votes cast these figures represented. According to the United Nations, a majority of Haiti's 3.5 million eligible voters cast ballots.
The announcement reinforced earlier comments before the release of the election's first results, with a campaign official said Preval had won almost 68 percent of the votes that had been counted so far.