Ten­sion mounts as Haiti awaits elec­tion re­sults

Chronicle (Zimbabwe) - - Worldwide -

ELEC­TION ten­sions spilled on to Haiti’s streets with shots fired out­side the pres­i­den­tial palace as var­i­ous can­di­dates claimed vic­tory in a re-run vote in the im­pov­er­ished Caribbean coun­try.

Haitians are count­ing on their next pres­i­dent to lift the coun­try out of po­lit­i­cal limbo and re­pair dam­age from Hur­ri­cane Matthew, which dev­as­tated the coun­try last month, killing up to 1 000 peo­ple and leav­ing 1.4 mil­lion need­ing aid.

Haitians are mean­while be­ing asked to re­main pa­tient and wait for of­fi­cial elec­tion re­sults, af­ter sev­eral fac­tions have made early dec­la­ra­tions of vic­tory as well as ac­cu­sa­tions of fraud.

Nearly 1 000 Haitian elec­tion work­ers be­gan 12-hour shifts in­side a ware­house on Mon­day, tab­u­lat­ing the re­sults of the week­end’s pres­i­den­tial and leg­isla­tive vot­ing.

Just one day af­ter polls closed, hun­dreds of sup­port­ers of the Lavalas Fam­ily, the party of for­mer pres­i­dent Jean-Ber­trand Aris­tide, took to the streets of Port-au-Prince.

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

In­ter­na­tional ob­servers asked Haitians to await the re­sults as de­mon­stra­tors had be­gun ac­cus­ing other par­ties of “steal­ing” the elec­tion. De­spite a low turnout of less than 22 per­cent, no elec­tion re­sults are ex­pected to be is­sued by Haiti’s Pro­vi­sional Elec­toral Coun­cil be­fore Sun­day.

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.

Ac­cord­ing to Teresa Bo, who was re­port­ing from Port-auPrince, many Haitians in re­mote ar­eas were un­able to vote due to the dev­as­ta­tion from nat­u­ral dis­as­ters, in­clud­ing the earthquake in 2010, and the lack of polling sta­tions.

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.

“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,” AP news agency quoted An­toine as say­ing. — AFP

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