OAS says Haiti elections marked a forward step, despite violence
PORT-AU-PRINCE, Haiti – Despite incidents of violence at some polling stations, the first round of legislative elections in Haiti has been described as “a step forward for Haitian democracy” by the Organization of American States (OAS).
In a statement issued yesterday, the OAS election observer mission in Haiti said most polling stations were able to conclude operations as planned, and it congratulated the Caribbean nation on holding elections that involved the vast majority of political forces in the country.
But the mission also recommended a civic education campaign to increase participation from the country’s 5.8 million registered voters.
Of the 1,508 voting centres open on Election Day, about 54 were closed because of violence.
But head of the elections council, Pierre-Louis Opont, indicated that was not significant enough to invalidate the vote.
Results are expected on August 19.
In a preliminary report, the chief of the OAS observer mission, Enrique Castillo, welcomed the determination of the Provisional Electoral Council to continue with the next steps in the electoral process.
“[Sunday’s] election was a step forward in strengthening Haitian democracy,” said Castillo, a former foreign minister in Costa Rica.
He said the OAS would maintain its presence in the country until the conclusion of the vote count, and would also deploy another mission for the first round of voting in the presidential elections scheduled for October 25.
The OAS mission consisted of 28 professionals from 12 countries, who visited 171 polling stations in all the departments of Haiti.