Fourteen candidates who ran in Haiti’s first-round legislative elections have been disqualified over their suspected involvement in crime and violence that marred polling, election officials said Tuesday. Two people were killed during the long-delayed August 9 elections and sporadic violence forced dozens of voting centers to close in the first voting since 2011 in Haiti, the poorest country in the Americas. The candidates stand accused of various crimes, including firing an automatic weapon near a polling station, ransacking voting centers, voting violations, removal of ballot boxes and armed aggression against an election officer, Haiti’s provisional electoral council (CEP) said in a statement.
All but one of the disqualified candidates were running for a seat the in lower chamber of the Caribbean nation’s legislature, the Chamber of Deputies. One candidate, who had previously served as a deputy, was running for the Senate.
Four of the accused are members of President Michel Martelly’s PHTK party.
The candidates could face prison sentences of six months to five years, fines of up to 100,000 gourdes (around $1,940) and the loss of civil and political rights for at least five years to 10 years max, according to election rules, as cited by the CEP.