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Haiti Update: Smooth Elections, Long Wait for Results

Workers count ballots in Port-au-Prince as an observer looks on. (Image: AP)

October 27, 2015

Thousands observed Haiti's October 25 elections, but intimidating party monitors were a source of controversy.
Next up on Haiti's electoral calendar: December 27, the date of the likely presidential runoff.

Haiti concluded elections on October 25 in relative calm, but, with ballots on the way from polling stations in the countryside to the capital, voters must wait weeks for results. According to the Citizen Observatory for Institutionalizing Democracy, some 29 to 32 percent of Haiti’s 5.8 million registered voters made it out to vote for president and more than one thousand municipal posts, along with a second-round vote for the large majority of parliament seats. Though turnout is thought to have surpassed that of the turbulent first-round parliamentary elections on August 9, observers commented that it remained weak.

Nonetheless, increased security at polls—including 15,000 police and UN peacekeepers, plus thousands of independent and international observers—made for a much smoother electoral process. Only eight polling stations closed versus the 54 that did in August. However, the abundance of political party monitors was a source of controversy; in some cases, they outnumbered voters and handed out passes for people to cast multiple ballots. UN officers arrested 224 people, among them one parliamentary candidate and two Haitian police officers.

With 128 parties fielding candidates for all seats in question, results are expected no sooner than November 10, and more likely at the end of the month. Transporting the ballots from polling centers in the countryside to Port-au-Prince is one issue watchdog groups are paying close attention to, given that the potential for fraud increases during transport.

The results may not give any one of the 54 presidential candidates the 50 percent of votes necessary to avoid a runoff. Instead, the top two candidates will face off in a second-round vote on December 27. All four candidates leading the polls ahead of Sunday—Jude Célestin (Alternative League for Progress and Haitian Emancipation), Moïse Jean-Charles (Pitit Desalin), Jovenel Moïse (Haitian Tèt Kale Party), and Maryse Narcisse (Fanmi Lavalas)—said they were confident they had the votes necessary to win.

Get the background on the leading candidates and see where they placed in the latest polls.