- Title: Haiti tightens security and prepares for repeat presidential election
- Date: 20th November 2016
- Summary: PORT-AU-PRINCE, HAITI (NOVEMBER 19, 2016) (REUTERS) PANORAMIC VIEW OF CITY GANTHIER, HAITI (NOVEMBER 18, 2016) (REUTERS) TRUCKS CARRYING ELECTORAL MATERIAL TRUCK ENTERING VOTING CENTER POLICE GUARDING ELECTORAL MATERIAL VARIOUS OF ELECTORAL MATERIAL PERSON CARRYING ELECTORAL MATERIAL BOXES OF ELECTORAL MATERIAL VARIOUS OF PEOPLE ORGANIZING ELECTORAL MATERIAL EXTERIOR OF ELECTORAL COUNCIL (SOUNDBITE) (Creole) LEOPOLD BERLANGER, ELECTORAL COUNSEL PRESIDENT, SAYING: "Once everything is over and all the tally sheets signed, in order to strengthen confidence in the electoral process, we will take a picture of the tally sheets and send automatically to the tabulation centre." BOX OF ELECTORAL MATERIAL VARIOUS OF POLICE CHECKING MATERIAL UNITED NATIONS MINUSTAH VEHICLES PROVIDING SECURITY PORT-AU-PRINCE, HAITI (NOVEMBER 19, 2016) (REUTERS) VARIOUS OF HEAD OF MINUSTAH SANDRA HONORE (SOUNDBITE) (Spanish) SANDRA HONORE, HEAD OF MINUSTAH, SAYING: "It's very important, as I say, that Haiti recovers constitutional order with an elected president. So this is a first-round election for the presidency, it is a first step to be able to have a president-elect, to take control of the country, establish a new administration that will have to concentrate on a series of challenges that face the country right now." HONORE WITH U.N. OFFICIAL POLICE AT SCHOOL THAT WILL BS USED AS A VOTING CENTER SIGN THAT INDICATES VOTING CENTER TENTS AT VOTING CENTER ORGANIZATION OF AMERICAN STATES (OAS) OBSERVER AT VOTING CENTER TENTS OAS OBSERVER PEOPLE WALKING THROUGH VOTING CENTER VARIOUS OF POLICE AT VOTING CENTER (SOUNDBITE) (Spanish) SANDRA HONORE, HEAD OF MINUSTAH, SAYING: "The national police are handling the logistics, handing over the sensitive material at the voting centers. And we believe that this plan will provide security to the electoral process." VARIOUS OF POLICE PROVIDING SECURITY AT VOTING CENTER GENERAL OF VOTING CENTER OAS OBSERVERS GETTING INTO CAR VEHICLE CARRYING OAS OBSERVER PEOPLE WALKING IN VOTING CENTER VARIOUS OF POLICE IN VOTING CENTER VOTING CENTER OAS OBSERVER GETTING INTO CAR CARS DRIVING DOWN STREET PEOPLE WALKING DOWN STREET VARIOUS OF VOTING CENTER UNITED NATIONS VEHICLES
- Embargoed: 5th December 2016 01:10
- Keywords: election first-round presidential election security election preps
- Location: PORT-AU-PRINCE AND GANTHIER, HAITI
- City: PORT-AU-PRINCE AND GANTHIER, HAITI
- Country: Haiti
- Topics: Government/Politics,Elections/Voting
- Reuters ID: LVA001598Y72F
- Aspect Ratio: 16:9
- Story Text:Haitians vote in a long-delayed presidential election on Sunday (November 19) that islanders hope will stabilize the impoverished nation and help it get back on its feet after a devastating hurricane last month.
The struggling islanders, despite skepticism, look for the election to bring an end to a year of political uncertainty and deliver a president who can unite a nation already battered by a 2010 earthquake, lift the economy and create jobs.
Up to 1,000 people died in Hurricane Matthew, which also wiped out crops and revived cholera outbreaks in the hard-hit southwestern region. It left up to 1.4 million people in need of humanitarian relief.
Many feel angry about the slow pace of aid in the poorest country in the western hemisphere, and many expect lingering hurricane damage to depress voter turnout.
Originally held in October 2015, the presidential vote was scrapped after protesters and politicians complained of rampant fraud. As a result, former President Michel Martelly left office in February with no elected successor, leaving the country in the hands of a transition government.
MINUSTAH head Sandra Honore said holding democratic elections was very important.
"It's very important, as I say, that Haiti recovers constitutional order with an elected president. So this is a first-round election for the presidency, it is a first step to be able to have a president-elect, to take control of the country, establish a new administration that will have to concentrate on a series of challenges that face the country right now."
Among more than two dozen candidates competing for the top job are Jude Celestin, who ran a government construction company, and Moise Jean-Charles, a former senator.
Unless a candidate wins more than 50 percent of the vote, or an advantage of at least 25 percent over the second-place candidate, the two top finishers move to a second round run-off scheduled for Jan. 29. The winner is expected to take office in late February.
A recent survey by polling firm BRIDES showed that local entrepreneur Jovenel Moise, a relative political newcomer, could be elected president in the first round for Martelly's Bald Heads Party. Nevertheless, civil society groups say polls in Haiti are notoriously unreliable.
Some voting centers damaged by the storm will be replaced with tents, but officials say they are on track to hold the vote, which includes some parliamentary and local elections.
"The national police are handling the logistics, handing over the sensitive material at the voting centers. And we believe that this plan will provide security to the electoral process," said Honore.
Since the hurricane, police and U.N. forces have assisted aid convoys, which have been attacked by desperate residents.
Security forces are being redirected to the polls, as Haitian elections have tended to be marked by unrest.
Former President Jean-Bertrand Aristide made statements to supporters two weeks ago that critics interpreted as a call for violence if his party's candidate, Maryse Narcisse, did not win.
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