Haiti presidential vote suspended over safety concerns

CCTV News

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Presidential elections in Haiti were scheduled to be held this Sunday, but have been suspended over fears for the safety of voters and property.

CCTV America’s Stephen Gibbs reports from Port au Prince.

Haiti presidential vote suspended over safety concerns

Haiti presidential vote suspended over safety concerns

Presidential elections in Haiti were scheduled to be held this Sunday, but have been suspended over fears for the safety of voters and property. CCTV America's Stephen Gibbs reports from Port au Prince.

After days of protests against this vote, elections have been called off, and now there is no clear plan as to what happens next. The President, Michel Martelly is bound by the constitution to leave office in two weeks’ time, but he says he will only hand over to an elected president. And now no elections are scheduled.

This controversy centers on the first round of the vote, which took place in October. There were 54 candidates, and widespread allegations of fraud, including bought votes, and people voting multiple times.

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One of the two candidates who went through to the final round, Jude Celestin, said the irregularities were so great that he would not participate in the run-off.

“I won’t be part of this farce. If it’s a farce, it won’t be an election. It will be a selection because there will be only one candidate and so it will be a referendum which is forbidden by our constitution,” Celestin said.

The front-runner, banana farmer Jovenel Moise, who is the chosen successor of Martelly, was looking like the sole candidate. But with protests across the country – several polling stations were burned down, and there were reports of election officals being robbed at gunpoint– Haiti’s electoral council said the conditions were unsafe for a vote. It was abruptly called off.

Rarely in Haiti’s history has there been a peaceful transfer of power from one president to another. Now the fear is a power vacuum; with all the uncertainty that entails.