Haiti: OAS commends Haiti for concluding vote, notes low turnout | Associated Press

International monitors commended Haitian authorities on Monday for finishing an electoral cycle that started in 2015 but expressed concern over the low participation rate by voters. The Organization of American States had 77 observers monitoring a final round of legislative contests as well as long-overdue municipal elections held Sunday. In a preliminary report, the mission said holding local elections after 10 years was “an important milestone for the consolidation of democratic institutions in Haiti.”

Haiti: Low turnout in local elections | AFP

Haitians turned out in low numbers for local elections on Sunday, exhibiting little enthusiasm for the final step in an agonizing electoral marathon that is finally coming to a close. The country’s political crisis began in October 2015, when results from Haiti’s presidential election were annulled because of massive fraud. It took until November 2016 to hold another presidential election, with turnout at a dismal 21 percent.

Haiti: Final round of election cycle started in 2015 held | Associated Press

Haiti held a final round of legislative contests as well as long-overdue municipal elections on Sunday, closing a repeatedly derailed electoral cycle that started in 2015. President-elect Jovenel Moise’s political faction and its allies are hoping to increase their majority in Parliament with eight legislative runoffs. Voters were also choosing 5,500 district authorities in local elections whose tardiness over a decade has exasperated many. Alix Pierre, a Port-au-Prince lawyer and one of hundreds of voters gathered at a polling station in the Canape Vert section of Haiti’s capital, said he was relieved the 2015 electoral cycle was finally concluding. “It took such a long time to get here,” he said after casting his vote.

Haiti: Losers in Haitian election cry foul | AFP

The losers in Haiti’s presidential election insisted Wednesday they will not recognise political neophyte Jovenel Moise as the winner, calling the officially declared result a political coup. But international organisations welcomed the conclusion of a tortuously long voting process that began in October 2015 and paralysed political life in this unstable Caribbean nation that is the poorest in the Americas. Moise was declared winner of the November 20 first round Tuesday night by the Provisional Electoral Council, with 55.6 percent of the votes. To check against fraud — the reason for the scrapping of the election the first time Haiti tried in 2015 — the council said right after the election that 12 percent of the ballots must be verified. After a week of checking, the council said there was no signficant fraud.

Haiti: Court rules that electoral process unaffected by voting irregularities | Jamaica Observer

The Office of the National Electoral Litigation (BCEN) in Haiti on Monday ruled that while there had been irregularities in the tabulation of votes cast in the November 20 presidential elections last year, they did not “affect the electoral process”. One month after voters had cast ballots in the legislative and presidential elections, the BCEN had handed a lifeline to three political parties that had been challenging the victory of businessman Jovenelle Moise, when it ordered a review of the preliminary results.

Haiti: Businessman Moise wins Haiti election in first round: provisional results | Reuters

Haitians have chosen banana exporter Jovenel Moise as their next president, provisional results released by the election council on Monday showed, with the political novice winning a majority and avoiding a second round runoff. Moise won 55.67 percent of the vote in the Nov. 20 election, the electoral council said, a majority that means the impoverished Caribbean nation will avoid a runoff and a political void, so long as the losing candidates do not contest the result. “We want to salute the maturity of the Haitian people,” said Leopold Berlanger, president of the election council, which organized the vote weeks after a devastating hurricane hit the country.

Haiti: Political parties call for investigation as Haitians await election results | Carib News

Political parties in Haiti were on Friday calling on the electoral officials to investigate allegations of voter fraud in last Sunday’s presidential elections before any official announcement is made of the winners. Jude Celestin, who is one of the presidential candidates, has written to the Provisional Electoral Council (CEP) alleging that members of his LAPEH party at the Voting Tabulation Center (CTV) “saw and noted that many minutes transmitted to the CTV were accepted and validated, whereas the correlative listings of ‘émargement’ do not have signatures or fingerprints of the voters, only able to guarantee the authenticity of the vote with reference to article 158.1 of the electoral decree”. Celestin is warning that “if, in the next hours and before any proclamation of partial results, such a flagrant violation is not corrected, it risks to irreparably damage the integrity and reliability of the entire process”. He is also reminding of the problems that confronted the elections of 2010 and 2015, noting “elections must not be subjected to any manipulation or any gross form of violation of the law in general and the electoral decree in particular.

Haiti: Tensions mount as Haiti waits on re-run election results | Reuters

Election tensions spilled onto Haiti’s streets on Monday 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. With paper ballots counted laboriously by hand, election results typically take a week to be announced in Haiti. But less than 24 hours after polling centers had closed, some candidates and their supporters claimed they had won, leading to chaotic scenes in the capital where guards were forced to shoot into the air to clear a celebrating crowd. The provisional electoral council (CEP) released a statement urging the public to disregard any premature victory announcements. “We call on the population not to believe or transmit any pseudo-result, even partial, that has reached them,” it said. “Any result circulating on the internet or social media is not attributable to the CEP.”

Haiti: Police clash with protesters awaiting poll results | BBC

Police in Haiti have clashed with supporters of presidential candidate Maryse Narcisse, as the country awaits results of Sunday’s elections. Both Ms Narcisse’s party and that of another presidential candidate, Jovenel Moise, are claiming victory.
But official results are not expected before the end of the week. Vote counting in elections is often slow but has been further delayed this time due to widespread destruction caused by Hurricane Matthew. Haiti voted in presidential, parliamentary and local elections on Sunday.

Haiti: Presidential redo goes well; long vote count begins | Associated Press

Haiti’s repeatedly derailed presidential election finally went off relatively smoothly Sunday as the troubled nation tries to get its shaky democracy on a firmer foundation after nearly a year of being led by a provisional government. Polls closed late in the afternoon, and election workers set to work on an archaic and time-consuming process of counting paper ballots in front of political party monitors. The schools serving as voting centers where they gathered were lit by lanterns, candles and flashlights. No official results were expected to be issued for eight days, and Provisional Electoral Council executive director Uder Antoine has said it might take longer than that. Voter turnout appeared paltry in much of southwestern Haiti, which was ravaged by Hurricane Matthew last month and was drenched by rain Sunday. But in the crowded capital of Port-au-Prince and other areas, voters formed orderly lines and patiently waited to cast ballots even as some polling centers opened after the 6 a.m. scheduled start.

Haiti: A long-awaited presidential election finally happens – with a few minor hitches | Miami Herald

Haiti’s high-stakes, on-again, off-again rerun of the presidential election finally happened Sunday. Who will emerge the victor? With 27 presidential candidates and 179 others running for 16 Senate seats and 25 in the Lower Chamber of Deputies, the results won’t be known for days. But this Election Day, like the new fraud-deterrent purple indelible ink, was much improved over the last year’s — when the results were so marred by allegations of fraud that Haiti chose to rerun the contests — even with problems that included rising rivers that delayed voting at two centers in the Northeast and prevented it at two others in the Grand’Anse regions, plus ongoing rain and problems with voter registration lists. “It was a successful day,” said Leopold Berlanger, the president of the nine-member Provisional Electoral Council (CEP). “A day that unfolded in calm, serenity… and, in general, this day unfolded without violence.”

Haiti: Still reeling from hurricane, Haiti holds long-awaited election | Reuters

Haitians began voting in a long-delayed presidential election on Sunday, hoping a new government will lift the economy after a devastating hurricane and more than a year of political instability. First held in October 2015, the election was annulled over allegations of fraud, and a rescheduled vote was postponed last month when Hurricane Matthew struck, killing up to 1,000 people and leaving 1.4 million in need of humanitarian assistance. Homes, schools and farms across southwestern Haiti all bear the scars of Matthew, which piled fresh misery onto the nation of more than 10 million on the western half of the island of Hispaniola still recovering from a major earthquake in 2010. “We are in a political crisis. We need an elected government to get out of this situation,” said 19-year-old Launes Delmazin as he voted for the first time in a school in Les Cayes, a southwestern port ravaged by Matthew last month.

Haiti: The Perfect Storm before Elections | AS/COA

Five days before Haiti was set to elect a president on October 9, Hurricane Matthew made landfall, devastating a country still recuperating from a 2010 earthquake, and intensifying the spread of cholera in its wake. The storm, which hit October 4, was the first Category 4 hurricane to hit Haiti since 1954. Matthew claimed the lives of more than 1,000 Haitians and delayed presidential elections for a fourth time. With the original October 2015 election results scrapped due to irregularities, a redo is scheduled for November 20. The electoral delays have raised concerns over Haiti’s preparedness when it comes to casting ballots for a president and a third of the Senate. Voting will be more difficult with fewer poll centers. Matthew completely destroyed 25 voting centers, 16 of which were in schools.

Haiti: Election postponed in Haiti after Hurricane Matthew batters the island | Miami Herald

In the aftermath of Hurricane Matthew’s destructive pass through Haiti, which left at least 10 people dead, hundreds of thousands displaced and a death toll certain to climb, elections officials on Wednesday postponed Sunday’s rerun presidential and legislative elections for the second time this year. The delay was expected by many Haitians after Tuesday’s battering from Matthew, a monster Category 4 storm with sustained winds of 145 mph that made landfall along the country’s southern coast bringing 15 to 20 inches of rain and triggering fears of a cholera outbreak. But elections observers, and some candidates, criticized the Haitian government for failing to set a new date for the election. The country’s Provisional Electoral Council, or CEP, announced the postponement on the day that Haitian National Police and a United Nations logistics team were scheduled to begin moving ballots and other sensitive materials to voting centers.

Haiti: Hurricane damage forces Haiti to delay voting yet again | AFP

Haitian authorities have postponed presidential and legislative elections originally set for Sunday because of the havoc caused by Hurricane Matthew, election officials said Wednesday. The impoverished Caribbean nation’s last elections, in 2015, were canceled amid violence and massive fraud, leaving the country stranded in political limbo ever since. The president of Haiti’s Provisional Electoral Council, Leopold Berlanger, said a new date for elections would be announced by next Wednesday at the latest, after talks between the various interested parties. The authorities must first assess the damage caused by Matthew, which struck Haiti on Tuesday as a Category Four hurricane with 230-kilometer (145-mile) an hour winds, he said.

Haiti: Crucial election still on despite Hurricane Matthew | USA Today

Crucial, controversial and long-delayed elections in Haiti are scheduled to take place Sunday despite the devastating storm now smashing through the tiny Caribbean nation. “There is a contingency plan that … takes into account any situation that may arise from the 6th (of October) to 12th,” Interior Minister François Anick Joseph said Tuesday. However, Léopold Berlanger, president of Haiti’s Provisional Electoral Council, told electoral advisers deployed across the fledgling democracy to “suspend temporarily” election activities and concentrate on protecting themselves and Haiti’s assets. He said the council will inform the public “in a timely manner of the evolution of the situation.”

Haiti: Haiti Rattled by Pre-Election Violence | teleSUR

A spate of violence is characterizing the lead-up to Haiti’s general election, with several people injured despite increased security just two weeks ahead of the much-anticipated vote. The campaign officially closes on Oct 7., two days before the presidential and legislative elections. In Miragoane, province of Nippes, protestors threw stones at the political platform Pitit Dessalines, injuring three people, reported local media. The party’s leader and presidential candidate Jean-Charles Moise said he and his supporters were attacked by three different parties over the weekend, including one attack that broke his car’s window. Moise called the government to guarantee the protection of the candidates during the campaign.

Haiti: Bickering lawmakers avoid vote on interim leader | Associated Press

Haiti’s fragmented Parliament failed again Wednesday to decide what to do about the caretaker president whose term has expired but remains in office in the absence of a vote resolving the latest leadership disorder. A joint National Assembly session adjourned after grandstanding speeches, arguments over agenda items and breaks for closed-door negotiations went on for hours. No vote was taken. For two weeks, Haiti’s bickering senators and deputies have avoided a vote on whether to extend the mandate of acting President Jocelerme Privert or pave the way for another provisional leader. Privert’s 120-day mandate expired two weeks ago under the terms of a February accord that helped bring him to power.

Haiti: US recognizes interim leader but prods legislators | Associated Press

The U.S. State Department’s special coordinator for Haiti said Thursday that he recognizes Jocelerme Privert as the troubled country’s interim president for now as the divided Parliament is avoiding a vote on potentially extending his expired mandate. In a phone call with reporters, Kenneth Merten was asked by The Associated Press if the U.S. still recognized Privert as Haiti’s provisional leader even though his 120-day mandate ended midnight Tuesday under the terms of a negotiated accord that brought him to power. While emphasizing that Privert’s fate was up to Haiti’s National Assembly to decide, Merten responded: “I would have to say I would recognize him as the interim president of Haiti” at this time. He stressed that Haitian electoral authorities should “act soon to clarify” who the country’s provisional leader is. “We really want the National Assembly to take the action they need to take to clear the subject up,” Merten said.

Haiti: Interim president’s mandate expires in drifting Haiti | Associated Press

Haiti entered into another leaderless drift Wednesday as the provisional president’s 120-day mandate came to a close amid backroom negotiations, posturing and delays by the deeply polarized country’s political class. Lawmakers were expected to decide whether to extend caretaker President Jocelerme Privert’s term until new elections can be held or pave the way for new interim leader. But a National Assembly session failed to take place Tuesday, when Privert’s tenure expired under the deadline of a February accord that helped put him in power. Cholzer Chancy, the acting leader of the National Assembly, on Wednesday demanded that senators and deputies return to Parliament to vote. But a session failed to materialize for a second straight day. “We are 92 deputies and 22 senators. Why can’t we come in and decide how we will continue to govern the country?” Chancy told a local radio station.

Haiti: Haiti gets reluctant go ahead to rerun presidential vote | Miami Herald

Haiti’s major foreign donors reluctantly gave the green light Monday to the country’s elections body to rerun last year’s contested presidential elections in October but they remain “deeply concerned” about the consequences of not having an elected president and government until February 2017. “It is the responsibility of an elected government to address the socio-economic and humanitarian challenges Haiti is facing,” the Special Representative of the Secretary-General of the United Nations, Sandra Honoré, said in a joint statement with the ambassadors of Brazil, Canada, Spain, France, the United States, the European Union and the Special Representative of the Organization of American States. The ambassadors, known as the “Core Group,” and their nations helped contribute to last year’s election price tag that Haiti’s interim president Jocelerme Privert said over the weekend was $100 million. The U.S. government alone contributed about $33 million including providing vehicles for Haiti’s beleaguered police force to provide security for the balloting. Only $8.2 million is left in an overall election fund, according to the United Nations Development Program resident representative in Haiti.

Haiti: Panel calls for re-run of presidential elections | Miami Herald

The results of Haiti’s contested first-round presidential elections were such a disaster that the process should recommence at zero, the head of a five-member panel charged with reviewing the vote told the nation Monday. Francois Benoit made the recommendation during a ceremony at the National Palace in which he handed over a 105-page report, the results of a month-long audit by the Independent Commission of Evaluation and Verification, to interim President Jocelerme Privert. Privert, in turn, gave the report to the revamped Provisional Electoral Council, which will ultimately decide whether to accept the recommendation. It had planned to announce a new elections calendar on Tuesday. The commission audited 25 percent of the results, or 3,325 tally sheets from 13,000 polling stations across the country. “The conclusion we have reached is that the evil started not only within the polling stations, but a little higher in the distribution of [accreditation cards]” Benoit said, referring to the tens of thousands of cards that were distributed to poll workers and electoral observers and went for as little as $3 on election day. The cards allowed individuals known as mandataires to vote multiple times and at any polling station. The card, he said, “frantically opened the way for … trading.”

Haiti: Haiti awaits elections-council decision | Miami Herald

The No. 2 finisher in Haiti’s presidential elections, who this year boycotted the runoff until sweeping changes were made to the electoral machinery, said that an audit of the balloting confirmed his declarations that the vote was tainted by “massive fraud.” Now the country’s Provisional Electoral Council (CEP) needs to “sanction the person who committed the fraud, the people who helped defraud,” Jude Célestin said in an exclusive interview with Radio Kiskeya in Port-au-Prince. Asked who that was, Célestin replied: “Everyone knows, the entire population knows the candidate who was the fraudster, for whom the fraud was done on behalf of.” Célestin qualified for the second round against Jovenel Moïse, the choice of former President Michel Martelly. Moïse has denied the fraud allegations and accused opponents of using them to try to kick him out of the race. His PHTK party has refused to recognize the report. A PHTK operative told the Miami Herald that Célestin has to be referring to another one of the top finishers.

Haiti: Council starts deliberating on possible election redo | Associated Press

Haiti’s electoral authorities begin deliberating Tuesday whether they should annul results of the disputed presidential election’s first round, as recommended by a special commission that reported finding significant fraud. Electoral council chief Leopold Berlanger declined to comment on the verification commission’s findings Monday night, saying his panel would need until June 6 to examine the report and announce a new election calendar for this troubled country. The Provisional Electoral Council has the final say on election matters. The leader of the verification commission, Pierre Francois Benoit, told The Associated Press that members of his panel were so troubled by their month-long review that they had no choice but to recommend starting over and scrapping a presidential run-off vote that has been postponed three times. The panel examined 25 per cent of the roughly 13,000 tally sheets from polling stations.

Haiti: No end in sight to election mess in struggling Haiti | Associated Press

Senate leader Jocelerme Privert took office as Haiti’s caretaker president with one real task: Quickly untangle a political stalemate blocking presidential and legislative runoff elections. Three months on, yet another voting date has fallen by the wayside as political infighting continues to snarl election efforts. Privert, meanwhile, seems increasingly comfortable as Haiti’s leader, traveling through the capital in horn-blaring motorcades and recently attending a U.N. climate change meeting in New York. Welcome to Haiti’s dysfunctional democracy, where few people think there will be voting anytime soon. Under the accord that helped put him in office, Privert was supposed to make way for a voter-approved president May 14 following a late April election. But his provisional administration got off to a sluggish start, and only recently appointed a commission to verify contested elections held last year that many Haitians believe were rigged to benefit Tet Kale, the party of previous President Michel Martelly.

Haiti: Haitian Americans to Kerry: Stop opposing Haiti elections recount | Miami Herald

Sixty Haitian-American leaders and diaspora organizations are calling on the Obama administration to end its staunch opposition to a recount in Haiti’s disputed presidential elections, charging that it is undermining democracy in the Caribbean nation. The letter, addressed to U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry on Thursday, comes a day after provisional President Jocelerme Privert announced that he will soon form an independent verification commission to look into allegations of ballot tampering and multiple vote-buying in the Oct. 25 presidential first round. Privert said the commission is “indispensable” to political stability and putting confidence back in the interrupted electoral process.

Haiti: New elections body must decide whether to recount or move on | Miami Herald

More than two months after its contested presidential runoff was postponed amid escalating opposition protests, Haiti has taken a significant step toward resuming the process. Provisional President Jocelerme Privert issued a presidential order late Tuesday, naming nine new members to a re-established Provisional Electoral Council (CEP) charged with organizing a second round to elect a president and complete parliament. “It is still up to us to support this body, which will need to analyze the process before deciding how to revive it to the satisfaction of all the stakeholders,” Privert said the day before as he welcomed a new caretaker government and prime minister, and announced his intentions to officially name the council known as the CEP. The order was published after the newly-installed government ended its first council of ministers meeting. The entire government, including Privert and interim Prime Minister Enex Jean-Charles, signed the three-page document in hopes of boosting transparency, and giving the new CEP the needed political clout to embark on the difficult task of seating a democratically-elected president in Haiti after a disputed electoral process.

Haiti: United Nations welcomes election of provisional President in Haiti | Antigua Observer

United Nations Secretary General Ban Ki-moon has the election on Sunday of Joselerme Privert as the interim President of Haiti. Privert’s election by the National assembly comes one week after the departure of former President Michel Martelly. Opposition parties had boycotted the second round of elections to on January 24 to elect a successor to Martelly, accusing the Provisional Electoral Council (CEP) and Martelly of wanting to rig the polls in favour of the government backed candidate. “This election stems from the agreement signed on February 6 between Haitian stakeholders to preserve institutional continuity and further the electoral process,” according to a statement issued by Ban’s spokesperson.

Haiti: Prime Minister calls for peace on Haiti’s first day with no president | Reuters

Protesting Haitians should end weeks of sometimes violent street marches and join a dialogue to create a transitional government, Prime Minister Evans Paul said on Monday, during his first day as the temporary head of the troubled Caribbean nation. Paul was prime minister under former President Michel Martelly, who left office on Sunday without an elected successor after a botched election saw a second round of voting cancelled due to the protests. Under an 11th-hour agreement at the weekend, Paul will stay in office until parliament chooses an interim president. “We should demand peace and dialogue. That is the only weapon that we should use, it is dialogue,” Paul told Reuters.