Haiti scraps first elec­tion re­sults; new poll in Oc­to­ber

The Star (St. Lucia) - - REGIONAL -

Haiti’s Pro­vi­sional Elec­toral Coun­cil (CEP) has ac­cepted a rec­om­men­da­tion from an in­de­pen­dent com­mis­sion to start pres­i­den­tial elec­tions from scratch, throw­ing out the re­sults of the first round of vot­ing held last Oc­to­ber.

The de­ci­sion fol­lows a re­port last week from the In­de­pen­dent Com­mis­sion of Eval­u­a­tion and Verification which pointed to ma­jor fraud and mis­con­duct in the first round.

Un­der an agree­ment signed by po­lit­i­cal par­ties on Fe­bru­ary 5, just be­fore for­mer pres­i­dent Michel Martelly left of­fice, a tran­si­tional gov­ern­ment was to rule the coun­try for four months, un­til elec­tions were held on April 24 and power trans­ferred to the elected pres­i­dent on May 14.

But sev­eral de­lays and calls for the first round re­sults to be ver­i­fied have led to in­terim pres­i­dent Jo­cel­erme Privert re­main­ing in place long af­ter the agreed time.

Privert told Reuters that he would stay in of­fice un­less Par­lia­ment agreed to re­move him.

“We have dates and dead­lines that changed for rea­sons be­yond our con­trol, but the fun­da­men­tal mis­sion is to or­ga­nize the elec­tion as soon as pos­si­ble,” he told the news agency.

“I am ready to com­ply with any de­ci­sion made by Par­lia­ment in that re­gard. But if they are not able to make any de­ci­sion, I can­not aban­don my re­spon­si­bil­i­ties.”

Ac­cord­ing to the Mi­ami Her­ald, the new elec­tions will take place on Oc­to­ber 9, 2016 and if none of the can­di­dates wins out­right, a run-off vote would take place on Jan­uary 8, 2017, with the fi­nal elec­tion re­sults pub­lished 22 days later.

Fraud and mis­con­duct are cited as rea­sons for hav­ing to cast votes again.

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