Haiti Votes After Yearlong Presidential Vacuum

Haiti Votes After Yearlong Presidential VacuumHaiti Votes After Yearlong Presidential Vacuum

Concerns over a low turnout have overshadowed the repeatedly delayed presidential elections in Haiti. Many voters are more interested in finding food and water than voting.

Haitians finally went to the polls on Sunday after more than a year of political turmoil following an annulled election. The top two candidates will meet in a January 29 runoff, unless one candidate gains at least 50% of the vote.

Nearly 6.2 million eligible voters in the impoverished Caribbean nation can choose their president from a field of 27 candidates. Voters will also pick a third of the Senate and 25 members of the Chamber of Deputies, AFP reported.

More than 9,400 police and 1,400 United Nations officers were mobilized throughout Haiti on Sunday. People were banned from carrying weapons and vehicles were not allowed within 100 meters of polling stations.

Clutching national identification cards, citizens waited patiently as voting centers opened well after the official 6 a.m. starting time for the poll.

Polling appeared to be going smoothly a few hours into the process though voter turnout appeared paltry in much of southwest Haiti. In the capital of Port-au-Prince and other areas, balloting ran without incident.

Voting was smooth even in the nearby volatile slum of Cite Soleil where polling can quickly devolve into chaos if political activists pay young men to cause disruptions.

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