Voting appeared orderly and largely peaceful in presidential and parliamentary elections that Haitians hope will help consolidate democracy in this impoverished country with a history of political turbulence. Fears that Sunday’s voting would be a repeat of the problem-plagued first-round of legislative elections proved unfounded, human rights observers said. Celso Amorim, chief of the Organization of American States’ 125-member observer mission, said Haiti appeared to be “moving in the right direction.” Haitians faced lengthy ballots featuring 54 presidential hopefuls and a slew of legislative and municipal candidates. Electoral officials said there might be partial results in 10 days but final results would not be ready until late November.
The presidential field was so crowded and confusing that there was little clarity about who might have been the leading contenders. Pre-election polls were unreliable and contradictory.
Whoever wins the almost inevitable Dec. 27 presidential runoff will face numerous challenges, including spurring Haiti’s chronically sputtering economy and weaning it off dependence on foreign aid donors, who are largely funding this year’s roughly $70 million three-round electoral process.