- Title: Haiti's Jovenel Moise casts ballot as Haiti holds long-delayed election
- Date: 20th November 2016
- Summary: NORD-EST, HAITI (NOVEMBER 20, 2016) (REUTERS) ***WARNING CONTAINS FLASH PHOTOGRAPHY*** PHTK CANDIDATE JOVENEL MOISE VOTING IN PRESIDENTIAL ELECTION MOISE VOTING WITH WIFE MOISE SIGNING BALLOT MOISE DROPPING BALLOT IN BOX (SOUNDBITE) (Creole) JOVENEL MOISE, PHTK CANDIDATE FOR PRESIDENCY, SAYING: "Political stability is the first public resource. In no country on earth is it possible to talk about development unless there is political stability, unless there is social peace. It is necessary for elections. Elections should be good, representative, legitimate." PORT-AU-PRINCE, HAITI (NOVEMBER 20, 2016) (REUTERS) ELECTORAL COUNCIL HEAD AND NATIONAL POLICE SPOKESMAN AT NEWS CONFERENCE VARIOUS OF OFFICIALS DURING NEWS CONFERENCE (SOUNDBITE) (Creole) LEOPOLD BERLANGER, ELECTORAL COUNCIL HEAD, SAYING: "We sent a helicopter of electoral materials. I thought the materials could arrive on that helicopter. But, because of the situation, the helicopter could not land. So, until now, it is not possible to get the material to those voting centers in Valliere." NATIONAL POLICE SPOKESPERSON GARY DESROSIERS AT NEWS CONFERENCE (SOUNDBITE) (Creole) GARY DESROSIERS, NATIONAL POLICE SPOKESPERSON, SAYING: "Eighteen people have been arrested and police operations continue at the voting centers. Police are present. There are 1,534 voting centers and over 8,000 police officers have been mobilized as have specialized police officers." VOTING CENTER BERLANGER LEAVING EXTERIOR OF PROVISIONAL ELECTORAL COUNCIL
- Embargoed: 5th December 2016 21:30
- Keywords: presidential election Jovenel Moise Vallieres arrests
- Location: NORD-EST AND PORT-AU-PRINCE, HAITI
- City: NORD-EST AND PORT-AU-PRINCE, HAITI
- Country: Peru
- Topics: Government/Politics,Elections/Voting
- Reuters ID: LVA0015991AH3
- Aspect Ratio: 16:9
- Story Text: Frontrunner Jovenel Moise cast his ballot in Haiti's long-delayed election on Sunday (November 20), amid scenes of devastation in parts of the country, with voters hoping a new president will lift the economy after a destructive hurricane and more than a year of political instability.
First held in October 2015, the election was annulled over allegations of fraud, and a rescheduled vote was postponed last month when Hurricane Matthew struck.
More than two dozen candidates are competing to succeed Michel Martelly, who left the presidency in February. Since then, a caretaker government has run the country.
Local opinion polls are viewed with skepticism by civil society groups, though a recent survey by pollster BRIDES made local entrepreneur Jovenel Moise the favorite to take the presidency for Martelly's Bald Heads Party in the first round.
Moise, who voted in Nord-Est, said his focus would be on providing a stable administration to the Caribbean nation.
"Political stability is the first public resource. In no country on earth is it possible to talk about development unless there is political stability, unless there is social peace. It is necessary for elections. Elections should be good, representative, legitimate," he said.
Among his competitors are the onetime boss of a government construction company, Jude Celestin, former senator Moise Jean-Charles, and Maryse Narcisse, a doctor backed by ex-President Jean-Bertrand Aristide.
Officials said the lingering effects of the hurricane risk depressing voter turnout in the poorest country in the western hemisphere, where democratic participation is generally low.
Hurricane Matthew, which killed up to 1,000 people and left 1.4 million needing humanitarian aid, caused widespread damage.
Homes, schools and farms across southwestern Haiti all bear the scars of Matthew, which piled fresh misery onto the nation of more than 10 million on the western half of the island of Hispaniola still recovering from a major earthquake in 2010.
According to Electoral Council head, four voting centers at Grand'Anse, Nord-est, Roseau and Vallieres did not open because of severe weather.
He explained that the helicopter with electoral material was unable to land at Vallieres, home to about 18,000 residents, to deliver the necessary items.
"We sent a helicopter of electoral materials. I thought the materials could arrive on that helicopter. But, because of the situation, the helicopter could not land. So, until now, it is not possible to get the material to those voting centers in Valliere," he said.
Polling stations were due to open at 6 a.m. local time (1100 GMT), although some were slow to do so. Some people in the capital, Port-au-Prince, complained they were unable to vote because their names did not appear on lists at the stations.
To safeguard voting in a country with a history of electoral violence, around 13,000 officers from the national police and the United Nations were mobilized for Sunday.
"Eighteen people have been arrested and police operations continue at the voting centers. Police are present," said national police spokesperson Gary Desrosiers while Justice Minister Camille Edouard told Reuters "at least a dozen" people had been arrested on suspicion of trying to commit electoral fraud or tamper with the process.
Still, early indications from electoral observers suggested the balloting was proceeding more smoothly than last year.
The Provisional Electoral Council (CEP) said on Thursday preliminary results of the vote are not expected until Monday.
Unless one candidate gets 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 Jan. 29. The victor is scheduled to take office in February.
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