AFRICANGLOBE – Haitians finally went to polls Sunday in presidential and legislative elections in an atmosphere of “calm” and with an “enthusiastic” turnout, authorities said.
A mass abstention was half-expected due to public frustration after Haitians tried to vote unsuccessfully on four occasions since last year.
The now must wait eight days to know the preliminary results, the president of the Provisional Electoral Council (CEP), Leopold Berlanger said.
“The CEP is the only institution authorized to give results and nobody can provide any information; neither the parties, nor organizations, nor journalists,” he warned at a press conference after the polls close.
The voting process was uneventful in the overwhelming majority of the 1,534 polling stations, but a yet-to-be-determined number of people were not able to vote because their name did not appear on the list, Berlanger said.
He added that nearly 5,700 people couldn’t vote after flooding blocked access to the commune of Jeremie — one of the most affected areas by Hurricane Matthew.
“We tried to send the electoral material to these centers by air, but the weather conditions did not allow us to reach them”, Berlarger added.
Meanwhile, police spokesman Garry Desrosiers congratulated the citizens on the democratic exercise, while adding at least forty-three people were arrested throughout the country for possession of firearms and various misdemeanor charges.
“But there are no dead or injured,” Desrosiers said.
Twenty-seven candidates were running for president, but the crowded pack has a clear front-runner in banana producer Jovenel Moise of Tet Kale Party, who allegedly received a 54.1 percent support in a recent survey. Second-place Jude Celestin, a mechanical engineer, got 20.8 percent.