Voters finally go to the polls in Haiti
PORT AU PRINCE - On Sunday, 6.2 million voters finally went to the polls in Haiti to elect the country’s next president, after a series of abandoned and postponed elections dating back to last year.
Haitian voters have to choose from 27 candidates for the presidency and must complete the parliament by the election of 16 senators (out of 30) and 25 deputies (out of 109).
"On this historic and crucial day for the future of our country, to all of you, dear compatriots and candidates, I wish you success and good luck," said interim President Jocelerme Privert
As in previous elections, the Provisional Electoral Council (CEP) was reportedly unable to open some polling stations on time, despite a strong presence of voters waiting in line.
At a press conference, the CEP said that four voting centres could not open their doors because of bad weather.
According to Léopold Berlanger, president of the CEP, "We see that it was a calm and serene day that has gone smoothly so far," noting isolated incidents (two ballot boxes burned), as well as several arrests.
"…when we take the day overall and according to reports we have, the day is going well in a satisfactory way, that is to say without major incident, without serious violence, without disturbance of polling and no tension in the streets... citizens are freely exercising their right to vote…” Berlanger said.
Concerning a possible extension [the polling places close at 4:00 pm], he indicated that at 4:00 pm voters who are still in line can vote. For voting centres that have opened late, an evaluation will be done on a case-by-case basis, depending on attendance.
According to a mid-day report, 18 people had been arrested throughout the country.
The anti-fraud emergency centre of the ministry of justice had received more than 300 reports of fraud, with 80% of the calls received being linked to the voting centres.
Several voters wondered why on the presidential ballot, some candidates have their photo with a coloured background: Jovenel Moïse, Jean Henry Céant, Moïse Jean Charles, Jude Célestin and Edmond Supplice Beauzile, while the others have their photos on a white background.