Haiti’s voters have spoken. But nobody’s quite sure what they’ve said. Even tentative results of Sunday’s presidential election likely won’t be known for at least 10 days, despite the fact that the election, which involved 54 presidential candidates and tens of thousands of contenders for other races, went unusually smoothly. Few places in the world take longer to give citizens any hint of who won an election. One reason is that it’s against the law for results to be released by anyone other than the Provisional Electoral Council, whose members are replaced every election cycle. “A lot of the learning that is accrued every time they go through an election process seems to be lost,” said Kenneth Merten, Haiti special coordinator for the U.S. State Department and a former U.S. ambassador to the country.
Haitian and international rights groups said Sunday’s vote was largely free of the violence and disorder that has plagued previous elections, including the first round of legislative elections in August.
Haiti appears to be “moving in the right direction,” said Celso Amorim, chief of the Organization of American States’ 125-member observer mission.
But watchdog groups said they are trying to keep a close eye on transportation and count of ballots. Under guard by Haitian police and U.N. peacekeepers, Sunday’s ballots and polling-place counts were being trucked from the countryside across often-dilapidated roads to a warehouse tabulation center in the capital of Port-au-Prince on Monday.