- Title: Presidential candidate Jude Celestin votes in presidential election
- Date: 20th November 2016
- Summary: PORT-AU-PRINCE, HAITI (NOVEMBER 20, 2016) (REUTERS) SUPPORTERS OF PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE JUDE CELESTIN SINGING VOTERS IN LINE CELESTIN ENTERING TO VOTE GENERAL VIEW OF VOTING CENTER CELESTIN VOTING CELESTIN MARKING OFF DOCUMENT CELESTIN GETTING HIS FINGER INKED CELESTIN SHOWING HIS INKED FINGER TO CROWD (SOUNDBITE) (Creole) PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE, JUDE CELESTIN, SAYING: "I think that until now, it is midday, everything is going well. There is a lot of participation. We hope it stays that way until the end of the day, that people continue voting." GENERAL VIEW OF PEOPLE VOTING (SOUNDBITE) (Creole) PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE, JUDE CELESTIN, SAYING: "Election Day. Now we are very vigilant in order to observe the end of the election." BALLOT BOXES PEOPLE VOTING (SOUNDBITE) (Creole) UNIDENTIFIED VOTER, SAYING: "I just did my civic duty. I hope that whatever the result, we will accept it. Because the hour has come for the country to unlock itself and it is necessary to think of the future." VOTERS IN LINE
- Embargoed: 5th December 2016 18:28
- Keywords: Haiti election vote president ballots Jude Celestin
- Location: PORT-AU-PRINCE, HAITI
- City: PORT-AU-PRINCE, HAITI
- Country: Haiti
- Topics: Government/Politics,Elections/Voting
- Reuters ID: LVA0015990FNR
- Aspect Ratio: 16:9
- Story Text: Presidential candidate Jude Celestin voted on Sunday (November 20) in a long-delayed presidential election following a devastating hurricane and more than a year of political instability.
Opinion polling is far from reliable in Haiti, civil society groups say. Still, 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.
Still, Celestin, the onetime boss of a government construction company, is among his most prominent competitors. Former senator Moise Jean-Charles and Maryse Narcisse, a doctor backed by ex-President Jean-Bertrand Aristide, are among other contenders.
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.
Celestin said voting had remained peaceful on Sunday.
"I think that until now, it is midday, everything is going well. There is a lot of participation. We hope it stays that way until the end of the day, that people continue voting," he said.
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, killing up to 1,000 people and leaving 1.4 million in need of humanitarian assistance.
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.
Polling stations were due to open at 6 a.m. local time (1100 GMT), although some did not get started until later, and voters trickled in slowly at first.
Officials said the lingering effects of the hurricane and a bad weather forecast for Sunday risk depressing voter turnout in the poorest country in the western hemisphere, where democratic participation is generally low.
Weak turnout may undermine the legitimacy of the contest, which pits more than two dozen candidates in the race to succeed the former president, Michel Martelly, who left office in February. Since then, a caretaker government has run the island.
To safeguard voting in a country with a history of electoral violence, almost 13,000 officers from the national police and the United Nations were mobilized for Sunday.
But how many of the hundreds of thousands of people battered by Hurricane Matthew last month will make it to polling stations is a particular concern in southern Haiti.
Only 4,000 identification cards were produced to replace those lost to Matthew, said before the vote Wilson Fievre, general director of Haiti's National Identification Office.
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