Haiti tab­u­lat­ing votes as fac­tions claim vic­tory, fraud

Jamaica Gleaner - - MARKET REPORTS -

NEARLY 1,000 Haitian elec­tion work­ers be­gan 12-hour shifts in­side a ware­house Mon­day tab­u­lat­ing the re­sults of week­end pres­i­den­tial and leg­isla­tive vot­ing sup­posed to re­turn their drift­ing home­land back to full con­sti­tu­tional or­der.

De­spite an ap­par­ent low turnout, no elec­tion re­sults are ex­pected to be is­sued by Haiti’s Pro­vi­sional Elec­toral Coun­cil be­fore Sun­day, November 27. Few places in the world take longer to give cit­i­zens any hint of who won bal­lot­ing.

Most tally sheets from vot­ing cen­tres were still be­ing trans­ported to the cap­i­tal by trucks from dis­tricts across the moun­tain­ous coun­try with no short­age of di­lap­i­dated roads. Elec­tion work­ers at lo­cal polling sta­tions had worked through the night count­ing bal­lots by lanterns and can­dle­light in a na­tion with a dis­mal elec­tric­ity sec­tor.

Uder An­toine, ex­ec­u­tive di­rec­tor of a re­vamped elec­toral coun­cil that is get­ting high marks for or­gan­is­ing Sun­day’s un­usu­ally smooth elec­tion, ex­pressed con­fi­dence that tab­u­la­tion work­ers will de­liver ac­cu­rate, trans­par­ent re­sults that will be ac­cepted in a coun­try known for po­lit­i­cal un­rest and chaos af­ter elec­tions.

“It’s been many years since Haiti has had an elec­tion like this one. The na­tion woke up calm, peo­ple went to work, and kids went to school. I’m very sat­is­fied,” An­toine told The As­so­ci­ated Press out­side the ware­house com­puter cen­tre in a Port-au-Prince in­dus­trial park.

CONTESTATION PE­RIOD

In­ter­na­tional and lo­cal ob­servers on Mon­day urged Haitians to wait pa­tiently for the of­fi­cial re­sults even as po­lit­i­cal ac­tivists be­gan loudly claim­ing vic­tory or al­leg­ing vote rig­ging, a con­stant in Haitian elec­tions.

Mem­bers of the Or­gan­i­sa­tion of Amer­i­can States’ ob­server mis­sion said they would ob­serve the 24 hour-a-day tab­u­la­tion process un­til pre­lim­i­nary re­sults are pub­lished. They will also ob­serve the in­evitable contestation pe­riod.

At a news con­fer­ence, OAS of­fi­cial Ger­ardo de Icaza said it was im­por­tant for peo­ple to “wait for the of­fi­cial re­sults and not be swayed by po­lit­i­cal dec­la­ra­tions.”

Out­side, though, ac­tivists were al­ready mak­ing noise.

Sup­port­ers of the Tet Kale party of for­mer Pres­i­dent Michel Martelly sent out text mes­sages in­sist­ing that their pres­i­den­tial can­di­date, Jovenel Moise, was vic­to­ri­ous in Sun­day’s bal­lot­ing and that no sec­ond round would be needed.

Mean­while, over 1,000 par­ti­sans of the Lavalas Fam­ily fac­tion marched or jogged through a patch­work of slums in Por­tau-Prince ei­ther claim­ing vic­tory for Lavalas can­di­date Maryse Nar­cisse or claim­ing elec­toral fraud that would keep her from of­fice. Some threat­ened vi­o­lence if the Lavalas con­tender did not be­come Haiti’s next leader.

De­spite the pock­ets of po­lit­i­cal clam­our­ing, the coun­try was tran­quil as most Haitians went about their nor­mal lives.

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