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Haiti run-off vote to go ahead despite irregularities

© Hector Retawal, AFP | Election posters for presidential candidates Jovenel Moise (L) and Jude Celestin in Port-au-Prince, on December 22, 2015

Text by FRANCE 24

Latest update : 2016-01-04

An independent commission on Sunday reported that the first round of Haitian presidential elections on October 25 were “stained by irregularities” but claimed problems were not serious enough to void the poll or further delay a run-off.

The panel found that poll watchers intervened to help several candidates in the October ballot, and recommended possible legal action against poll workers and others involved in a fresh blow to a country long crippled by political instability.

It also urged measures to improve the transparency in the contest to choose a successor to President Michel Martelly.

"Clearly… the electoral institution no longer enjoys the credibility that permits it to continue with the process without the danger of sinking the country into a still-more-serious crisis," the group stated in its report.

Jovenel Moïse, Martelly’s hand-picked successor, won the first round of the election with 32.8 percent of votes against 25.3 percent support for rival candidate Jude Célestin.

A run-off had been due to go ahead on December 27 but was canceled after fraud allegations.

Célestin, who was among those to challenge the official count, refused to campaign until an independent electoral commission looked into the allegations.

Because of the dispute, which led to boisterous street protests, Haiti's electoral council postponed the run-off and the government named the commission to investigate the process and recommend changes.

However, while the commission acknowledged problems at more than half of all polling stations, it said the second round of voting could proceed as planned on January 17.

(FRANCE 24 with AP, AFP)

Date created : 2016-01-04

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