Candidates in Final Day To Appeal Haitian Election Results
Election officials in Haiti say candidates in the nation’s disputed presidential election have until the end of the day to appeal the preliminary results of last month’s vote, which were marred by fraud allegations.
Earlier this week, Haiti’s electoral council extended the appeals process through Wednesday in an effort to calm unrest in the nation.
Violent protests erupted last week after election officials announced that former first lady Mirlande Manigat, along with ruling party candidate Jude Celestin, had won enough votes to advance to a January 16 runoff.
Popular Haitian singer and presidential candidate Michel Martelly has demanded that another vote take place involving all of the candidates. Official figures show Martelly placed third, disqualifying him from the January vote.
Nearly 20 candidates contested the original November 28 elections.
Martelly on Tuesday was quoted as saying the simplest solution would be a single round, supervised by international and national organizations. Under his plan, the leading vote-getter would win, with no need for a second round.
Martelly and Manigat have rejected an offer by the electoral council to create a commission to oversee the recounting of tally sheets.
Allegations of irregularities nearly brought the balloting to a halt. They ranged from alleging outright fraud to polling place disorganization that disenfranchised many Haitians.
Many voters had no idea where to cast ballots, while others arrived at polling stations to find that their names were not on the rolls.
Last week, the U.S. embassy in Haiti issued a statement saying the official results were inconsistent with the published results of the National Observation Council, as well as domestic, U.S. and other international observers.
Back in January, Haiti was ravaged by a devastating earthquake that left more than 200,000 people dead and 1 million others homeless. The Caribbean nation also is struggling with a cholera epidemic that has claimed about 2,000 lives. Haiti is the Western Hemisphere’s poorest country.