Haiti election results on hold
PORT-AU-PRINCE, Haiti, Wednesday March 30, 2011 – Haitians will have to wait until next Monday to hear the preliminary results of the final round of presidential elections, after the Provisional Electoral Council (CEP) announced yesterday that it won’t be ready by tomorrow as initially planned.
The CEP issued a statement, signed by President Gaillot Dorsinvil, explaining that stringent verification measures to reduce fraud and irregularities in vote tabulation are responsible for the four-day delay in telling the population whether 50-year-old popular musician Michel Martelly or 70-year-old former first lady Mirlande Manigat came out on top.
This time around, more than half the tally sheets have been sent to be inspected for fraud, much more than the 10 percent inspected in the first round.
The CEP said that these and other provisions “which have proved to be necessary for the reliability of the results, unfortunately affected the pace of the Tabulation Center which is no longer able to produce its report on the date originally scheduled”.
“The Provisional Electoral Council thanks the population for its understanding and reiterates its commitment to conduct the electoral process to a successful conclusion,” it added.
The CEP gave no indication whether this delay would affect the announcement of the final results which, according to its timetable, is set for April 16.
Meantime, the Joint Organisation of American States (OAS)/Caribbean Community (CARICOM) Electoral Observation Mission (JEOM) has indicated it will maintain its presence in Haiti’s 11 electoral departments until the final results are announced.
The JEOM said its observers have been present in the Vote Tabulation Centre round-the-clock since the tabulation phase began on March 21, a day after voters cast their ballots in the second round of presidential and legislative elections.
“The observers are monitoring the new procedures put in place for the processing of the result sheets and the application of criteria for verification to ensure the integrity and transparency of the tabulation process,” it said in a statement yesterday.
“The JEOM notes the strengthening of the capacity of the Legal Control Unit (UCL), which has now 16 lawyers whose task is to determine the validity of the result sheets brought to their attention. The Mission has noted that compared to the first round, a greater amount of result sheets were sent to the UCL.”
The Mission cautioned that premature announcements of victory are harmful to public order and the smooth unfolding of the electoral process by creating expectations among their supporters that might not be founded, and therefore urged both presidential and legislative candidates and their campaign teams and allies to avoid making any such pronouncements.
“The Mission understands the candidates’ eagerness to know the results. However, it wishes to point out to the two presidential candidates in particular that one of them will be elected President of the Republic and, as such, will be responsible for the proper functioning of institutions and the maintenance of public order,” the JEOM said.
“They should therefore demonstrate as of now the sense of responsibility they will have to display when taking the helm of the affairs of the Republic by appealing to their teams and supporters to await the publication of the preliminary results to avoid creating false expectations and to respect the verdict of the ballot box.”
The Mission further called on all political leaders, political groups and their supporters to contribute to the maintenance of a calm and peaceful atmosphere as they await the publication of the preliminary results.
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