Haitian elections officials are rejecting requests to form an independent commission to verify the preliminary presidential election results, saying the law doesn’t grant them the authority to do so. The decision by the nine-member Provisional Electoral Council came after a meeting with eight presidential candidates Monday night and amid growing calls to put confidence in the electoral process. The candidates, including second-place finisher Jude Célestin, have rejected the results on the grounds that the vote was marred by “massive fraud” with ballot stuffing and political party monitors voting multiple times. The CEP’s position stands to deepen an ongoing electoral impasse while further casting doubt over the Dec. 27 runoff.
“The law doesn’t prevent them from forming a commission,” said Attorney Samuel Madistin, a presidential candidate who serves as spokesman for the group. Madistin noted that independent verifications have been formed in past electoral disputes, including in the 2010 elections that brought President Michel Martelly to power.
The current fraud allegations have triggered a crisis of confidence in Haiti’s electoral process. Célestin, who received 25.2 percent of the vote in the Oct. 25 election, finished behind Martelly’s handpicked successor, Jovenel Moise, who received 32.8 percent. Moise has dismissed the fraud allegations.