- Title: Haiti's electoral council warns candidates to accept vote
- Date: 21st November 2016
- Summary: PORT-AU-PRINCE, HAITI (NOVEMBER 20, 2016) (REUTERS) ELECTORAL COUNCIL OFFICIALS AND POLICE AT NEWS CONFERENCE JOURNALISTS AT NEWS CONFERENCE ELECTORAL COUNCIL OFFICIALS AND POLICE WIDE OF NEWS CONFERENCE (SOUNDBITE) (Creole) LEOPOLD BERLANGER, ELECTORAL COUNCIL PRESIDENT, SAYING: "The war is not over. We went through the first part. The second part is the results and the democratic acceptance of those results in a way that the country can move forward." HAITIAN FLAG BERLANGER LOOKING ON (SOUNDBITE) (Creole) LEOPOLD BERLANGER, ELECTORAL COUNCIL PRESIDENT, SAYING: "The electoral decree does not allow anyone except the Electoral Council to publish results. We ask that the decree be respected. Whether it is the political parties, the candidates, or other organizations in society, no matter what the sector-- we want them to respect the decree." HAITIAN FLAG OFFICIALS WALKING OUT OF NEWS CONFERENCE
- Embargoed: 6th December 2016 05:02
- Keywords: elections electoral council Leopold Berlanger presidential elections
- Location: PORT-AU-PRINCE, HAITI
- City: PORT-AU-PRINCE, HAITI
- Country: Haiti
- Topics: Government/Politics,Elections/Voting
- Reuters ID: LVA00159DYJIF
- Aspect Ratio: 16:9
- Story Text: Hours after polls closed for the long-delayed election, Haiti's electoral council warned candidates on Sunday (November 20) to accept the official results and not make premature announcements.
Sunday's election was a repeat of the October 2015 election which was annulled over allegations of fraud.
In the 2015 disputed results, the electoral council had announced that local entrepreneur and ruling party candidate Jovenel Moise was in first place and businessman Jude Celestin was in second place in a field of 54 candidates. The two were to move on to a second round run-off but Celestin threatened to abstain, claiming fraud.
After months of protests by opposition candidates and their supporters, the government appointed a commission to investigate and new elections were called.
That election had to be rescheduled when Hurricane Matthew struck last month, killing up to 1,000 people and leaving 1.4 million needing humanitarian aid.
On Sunday, 27 candidates ran for office and there were a number of reports of voting fraud too. Nonetheless, local election observers drew a broadly positive picture of the process, with initial findings suggesting it had passed off more smoothly than last year.
Electoral council president Leopold Berlanger said he was satisfied with how the day had gone. Officials are currently tallying the votes and final results are not expected for eight days.
But a recent survey by pollster BRIDES showed the same two candidates will lead this election, with Moise possibly taking the presidency for Martelly's Bald Heads Party in the first round.
Berlanger told reporters that it was critical that candidates accept the final decision of the electoral council.
"The war is not over. We went through the first part. The second part is the results and the democratic acceptance of those results in a way that the country can move forward," he said.
The call comes weeks after twice-deposed former president Jean-Bertrand Aristide was accused of inciting violence when he told members of his Fanmi Lavalas party to take to the streets should the November 20 vote be postponed.
Haiti has a history of electoral and political violence and the country deployed around 13,000 officers from the national police and the United Nations to safeguard the election.
While preliminary results could come as early as Monday, many areas of the country are remote and, with over two dozen candidates running, early results could be misleading.
Berlanger warned candidates and their parties to wait for the council's final, definitive announcement.
"The electoral decree does not allow anyone except the Electoral Council to publish results. We ask that the decree be respected. Whether it is the political parties, the candidates, or other organizations in society, no matter what the sector-- we want them to respect the decree," he said.
Unless one candidate secures more than 50 percent of the vote or wins by at least 25 percentage points, a second round run-off is in prospect for the top two finishers on January 29. The victor is scheduled to take office to lead the poorest country in the western hemisphere in February.
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