Haiti vote gets green light
HAITI: International election monitors declared Haitiís vital
post-quake elections valid Monday, while two leading Presidential
candidates rowed back on allegations the polls had been rigged.
Gripped by cholera and traumatized by Januaryís earthquake, Haiti
faced the spectre of political unrest on Sunday when 12 of the 18
candidates cried foul before polls had closed. Thousands of protesters
took to the streets.
But on Monday, longtime opposition leader and pre-election favourite
Mirlande Manigat and popular musician Michel Martelly, another leading
candidate, dramatically reversed their calls for the polls to be
International monitors then gave their crucial verdict, deciding that
although there had been widespread problems, including violence, poor
organization and claims of fraud, this was not enough to doom the polls.
ďThe joint mission does not believe that these irregularities,
serious though they are, should invalidate the elections,Ē said Colin
Granderson, head of the observer mission from the regional CARICOM and
The stakes could not be higher as hospitals overflow with victims of
cholera ó the epidemic has claimed more than 1,700 lives ó and Haitians
search for a leader to turn around a dysfunctional, failing nation.
The Provisional Electoral Council (CEP) on Sunday denied allegations
it was in cahoots with the ruling INITE (Unity) party, stuffing ballot
boxes to ensure victory for President Rene Prevalís handpicked protege
Election day violence was not extreme by Haitian standards but two
deaths were reported and several polling stations were attacked by angry
The polls were also dogged by poor organization. Hundreds of
thousands of earthquake survivors were without the necessary ID cards
and others had the right papers but didnít know where to vote.
The Sorbonne-educated Manigat, a 70-year-old striving to become
Haitiís first female president, had enjoyed a clear opinion poll lead
from Celestin, the 48-year-old ruling party candidate who lives with
Port-A u-Prince, Tuesday, AFP