Haiti to Repeat Presidential Election in October

Haiti to Repeat Presidential Election in OctoberHaiti to Repeat Presidential Election in October

A date of October 9 has been set for polls to elect a new president after the results of last year’s election were annulled. An independent commission found evidence of fraud during the 2015 vote.

“The council has decided to repeat the first round of the presidential election,” President of the Provisional Electoral Council Leopold Berlanger told reporters on Monday.

Last October’s poll, which was won by Jovenel Moise from the party of ex-president Michel Martelly, was disputed by losing candidates and their supporters, who forced the second-round runoff to be postponed several times, AFP reported.

In its non-binding final report delivered last week, the council recommended an entirely new election, citing widespread fraud and “zombie” voting.

The panel found about 628,000 untraceable votes during an audit of polling station tally sheets.

The council set new dates for a fresh first round to be held on October 9 with a runoff vote on January 8, 2017. But the party that came first in the contested first round warned it would challenge the ruling.

Following the announcement, Haiti’s interim president, Jocelerme Privert, said he would stay in office until next year to transfer power to an elected president unless parliament rules otherwise.

Privert was chosen as interim leader when Martelly left office without a successor. Privert was supposed to hand power to an elected successor within 120 days, by June 14. But deadlines were missed after a spat over appointments and the establishment of the commission to investigate the first round.

Earlier this week, the US warned against restarting the elections, saying the country would remain in a state of unnecessary turmoil. The country suffers from food shortages and has barely recovered from the devastating 2010 earthquake.