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.
This is the first time that Célestin, who was removed from the runoff in 2010 after the opposition accused then-President René Préval of rigging the elections in Célestin’s favor, has called for Haiti’s electoral law on fraud to be applied. “I am sure that [the election machinery] didn’t defraud on my behalf; I didn’t have contact with the machine,” he said about last year’s vote. Appointed by interim President Jocelerme Privert, the verification commission has called for the first-round presidential vote to be re-run.
The commission also recommended that a number of legislative candidates, including a women’s-rights activist from the Artibonite Valley who lost her seat in the Lower Chamber of Deputies in favor of the relative of a powerful senator, have their victories reinstated.
The CEP, which has the final say, has until June 6 to publish a revised electoral timetable. The report has triggered mixed reactions in Haiti and among foreign diplomats who praised the Oct. 25 elections while dismissing the fraud allegations.
Full Article: Haiti awaits elections-council decision | Miami Herald.