Haiti Election Count Delayed
PORT-AU-PRINCE—Haiti’s election agency postponed announcing the preliminary results from the country’s recent presidential run-off, saying higher turnout and fraud were delaying the count.
The Provisional Electoral Council said it would announce results of the March 20 election next Monday, a four-day delay from the original date of this Thursday.
The election pitted law professor Mirlande Manigat against eccentric performer Michel “Sweet Micky” Martelly. The winner faces the daunting task of leading the reconstruction of the country after last year’s earthquake.
In a statement, the CEP said “a high incidence of fraud and irregularities” meant that it needed to hire additional lawyers to sort through election procedures.
The head of the Organization of American States observer mission, Colin Granderson, said the delay was also due to a much higher turnout.
The CEP statement added to worry that the second round of voting could end up as contentious as the first round last November. That vote ended in chaos when the government candidate, Jude Celestin, finished ahead of Mr. Martelly for second place. Claiming the elections were marred by fraud, Martelly supporters violently challenged the results—leading to a review by international observer groups, and a swap in the second runner up slot.
The run-off is seen as a tight race between Ms. Manigat and Mr. Martelly. The former first lady has garnered support among women and Haiti’s establishment. Mr. Martelly is an unknown on Haiti’s political stage but his popularity as a former “Kompa” singer in Haiti has galvanized Haiti’s youth, which represents half of the country’s population.