#Haiti Cancels Elections Indefinitely

Protesters vowed to derail presidential runoff during a demonstration against the electoral process in Port-au-Prince, Haiti, Jan. 18, 2016. | Photo: Reuters

Electoral authorities from the island nation said there is too much violence in the country to hold elections.

The Provisional Electoral Council of Haiti has once again canceled the presidential runoff elections that were scheduled for Sunday, EFE reported.

A spokesperson for the CEP said the decision to cancel the elections was based on security reasons.

Haiti, one poorest countries in the world, is facing political unrest due to massive accusations of electoral fraud during the first round in October.

The second round of elections was scheduled to take place in December, but according to Financial Times, they were postponed twice, which would make Sunday’s cancellation the second time the vote has been called off.

The CEP’s president, Pierre-Louis Opont held a news conference saying “there is too much violence throughout the country,” but failed to say when the elections would finally take place.

Opont also failed to say whether an interim government would take office after Feb. 7, when Martelly is by law required to step down from office.

The president is scheduled to address the nation later this Friday.

The runoff, when it takes place, will be between Jovenel Moise, a banana exporter, and Jude Celestin, a centrist Swiss-trained engineer.

Celestin was nominated by the opposition candidate who under local and international pressure was removed from the 2011 presidential vote in favor of current President Michel Martelly, who by law was barred from running for reelection.

Most civilian sectors of Haitian society also criticized the electoral process, including the Catholic and Protestant Churches, as well as the Chamber of Commerce and Industry. Opposition sectors have pushed for a transitional government until the recommendation can be implemented.

Celestin has complained of fraud and electoral rigging, and was quoted as saying that the first round was “an electoral coup,” and that Sunday’s vote would have not been “an election, but a selection because there is only one candidate.”

Haiti’s independent electoral commission said there were “important irregularities” in the first round of voting.

In Haiti’s capital city of Port-au-Prince protesters took to the streets this week to call for the postponement of the vote.

The demonstrations became violent as protesters burnt cars, barricaded roads and hurled rocks. Financial Times reported that electoral offices were also attacked by protesters in the northern city of Cap-Haitien.

 

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