HAVANA._ In what was to have been a demonstration of political stability, the first round of elections in Haiti, already delayed by four years, were marked by popular apathy and violence between rival parties.
The second round is scheduled for October 25,the same day as the general elections for the French speaking nation’s new president, and 1,14 local representatives and assembly members.
The crisis between the Executive and the opposition had impeded the holding of elections since Michel Mertelly was elected presidency in 2011, until the Parliament was eventually dissolved and elections called last January.
The process, costing 38,000,000 dollars, which for the most part was contributed by the U.S, the European Union, Brazil and Japan set 1,853 candidates from more than 100 political parties against each other for National Assembly seats.
The Provisional Electoral Council (CEP) registered 5.8 million voters to elect 20 senators and 119 deputies, but as had been expected, there was a low voter turnout.
Many polls and analysts had cautioned weeks before about the Haitian lack of interest, which they attributed to economic problems, the avalanche of candidates, poor campaign standards and the plague of violent incidents that left 5 dead and at least 36 seriously injured.
To ensure successful and peaceful elections, the authorities had deployed 9,000 police officers and had introduced a range of traffic restrictions. They prohibited the sale of alcoholic drinks, the carrying of firearms and the opening of recreation centers.
The CEP also issued guarantees regarding the organization of the polls, the training of officials, polling station security, and the low probability of fraud because of the use of ultra-modern high-tech cards.
Nevertheless, there were complaints throughout the day about technical difficulties at polling stations, tensions between the political parties and street disturbances.
1,500 members of the institution who supervised voting nationwide experienced problems arising from flawed observer accreditation distribution, the presence of unauthorized personnel within polling stations and obvious displays of favoritism to some of the political parties.
In spite of such drawbacks the Government, the CEP, international observers and even the United Nations Organization (U.N.) declared their satisfaction with the electoral process and offered their congratulations to the Haitian people.Share on FB Share on TT