Institute for Justice and Democracy in Haiti

Haiti’s Senate Joins Calls for Election Postponement

Haiti’s Senate has joined calls for the postponement of elections currently scheduled for January 24. Due to widespread fraud and other problems, Haitians have been calling for new elections since the first round in August. The presidential runoff (3rd round in all) has been postponed a few times but the problems have not been addressed. Haiti’s Chamber of Commerce, which met with the Senate, is recommending a new Electoral Council to take charge of the process. Meanwhile, president Martelly seems poised to push the elections forward as they are.

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Haiti Senate calls for a halt to Sunday presidential runoff

Jacqueline Charles, Miami Herald
January 20, 2016

A man is detained by the national police during a protest against President Michel Martelly's government to demand the cancellation of the Jan. 24, elections, in Port-au-Prince, Haiti, Tuesday, Jan. 19, 2016. Disputed election results have brought paralyzing street protests and many broad accusations of electoral fraud from civil society and opposition groups.

Haiti’s Senate on Wednesday called on the country’s Provisional Electoral Council to cease all operations for Sunday’s presidential and partial legislative runoffs.

The recommendation came after three hours of debate and as concern and uncertainty continue to dog the electoral process four days before the critical vote. A coalition of local observers have announced that they won’t participate, and the private sector has signaled its strong misgivings about the holding of the second round on Sunday.

Before the Senate meeting, a group of business leaders from the Haitian-American Chamber met with senators, and soon went to meet with opposition presidential candidate Jude Celestin. Joined by other business leaders, they asked Celestin whether he was willing to sign an agreement negotiated by Roman Catholic Church Cardinal Chibly Langlois that would postpone the vote until next month and a new president’s swearing-in by March 29. President Michel Martely and his hand-picked successor, candidate Jovenel Moïse, have also been presented with the same question, sources familiar with the agreement said.

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