Haiti run-off mostly calm

2011-03-21 08:30

kalahari.com

Port-au-Prince - Haitians voted on Sunday to elect a president for their earthquake-scarred country, choosing between a singer and a former first lady in a run-off called generally peaceful by officials and observers.

After polls closed in the Caribbean state, one of the world's poorest, election officers began counting votes, in many cases by lamplight as much of the capital Port-au-Prince, and much of the whole nation, has no electricity.

Preliminary results are not officially due to be announced until the end of the month.

Haiti's top electoral officer, Gaillot Dorsinvil, hailed what he called a large voter turnout in the first presidential run-off in the volatile country, where elections have often been marred by fraud and violence.

The close race presented Haiti's 4.7 million voters with a choice between a political newcomer, extrovert entertainer and singer Michel Martelly, 50, and former first lady Mirlande Manigat, 70, a law professor and opposition matriarch.

Election violence

Recent opinion polls showed Martelly ahead of Manigat.

Police and local officials said two people were killed in electoral violence, one in the central Artibonite region and one at Mare Rouge in the northwest. Police had earlier reported two deaths in Artibonite but later revised the figure to one.

UN peacekeepers intervened in scattered incidents, firing in the air in one place to separate fighting rival supporters.

But, despite delays caused by initially missing electoral materials, especially at polling stations in the capital Port-au-Prince, international observers said voting seemed to have gone much more smoothly than the chaotic first round on November 28, which dissolved into fraud allegations and unrest.

"It was generally peaceful and calm, although we had isolated incidents," Sylvie van den Wildenberg, spokesperson for the UN peacekeeping mission in Haiti (MINUSTAH), said.

"So far, it's encouraging," she added, noting that no immediate fraud claims or protests followed the day of voting. The streets of the capital Port-au-Prince appeared quiet.

Voting extended

International donors hope the run-off vote can elect a capable, legitimate leadership to steer a post-quake reconstruction that requires billions of dollars of aid.

Many polling stations in the capital did not open on time because materials, such as ink to mark voters' fingers and ballot papers, did not arrive early. But as the day progressed, these problems were mostly resolved, officials said.

While polling centres in most of Haiti closed as scheduled at 16:00 (21:00 GMT), voting was extended by one hour in the Port-au-Prince metropolitan area to make up for the delays.

The counting of ballots was due to begin immediately, but under Haiti's election law, the Provisional Electoral Council, or CEP, is only scheduled to announce preliminary results on March 31, and confirm the final results on April 16.

'Historic moment'

There are fears the long wait could cause impatience and possible protests, but CEP officials said both candidates have agreed to make no victory declarations and hold no rallies until the first results were announced - no easy task in a country known for its inflammatory politics.

Outgoing President Rene Preval appealed for calm. "I hope ... the results won't have any trouble," he told reporters.

Both candidates voted in the capital. Martelly, who has promised to change a country weary of corruption and mismanagement, was mobbed by cheering supporters.

"We are living a historic moment, I feel the enthusiasm and I am delighted change has finally come," he told Reuters.
Read more on:    un  |  michel martelly  |  mirlande manigat  |  haiti
NEXT ON NEWS24X
SHARE:

Read News24’s Comments Policy

24.com publishes all comments posted on articles provided that they adhere to our Comments Policy. Should you wish to report a comment for editorial review, please do so by clicking the 'Report Comment' button to the right of each comment.

Comment on this story
0 comments
Add your comment
Comment 0 characters remaining
 

Inside News24

 
/Music
Traffic & Train Alerts
Traffic
Brackenfell 08:46 AM
Road name: R300 Northbound

ROADWORKS - left lane closed at the Old Paarl Road exit

Edgemead 08:37 AM
Road name: N7 Northbound

DELAYS approaching the Bosmansdam Road exit

Jobs in Cape Town [change area]

Property [change area]

Travel - Look, Book, Go!

Magical Massinga

Spend 5 nights at the gorgeous Massinga Beach Lodge in Mozambique and only pay for 4 from R13 220 per person sharing. Includes return flights, accommodation, transfers and romantic turndown. Book now!

Kalahari.com - shop online today

Save up to 30% off top fragrances

Get mind blowing savings on selected fragrances. Offer valid while stocks last. Shop now!

Up to 40% off fashion accessories

Save up to 40% on selected handbags, purses, watches, jewellery and more. Offer valid while stocks last. Shop now!

Save up to R2000 on top electronics

Get every day mind bowing savings on top electronics. Offer valid while stocks last. Shop now!

Save up to 50% on Women’s month treats!

Celebrate the awesome women in your life with awesome treats like beauty products, fashion accessories, bestselling books, electronics and more. Offer valid while stocks last. Shop now!

Up to 60% off - clearance sale!

Save up to 60% on appliances, books, electronics, toys, movies and more. Offer valid while stocks last. Shop now!

OLX Free Classifieds [change area]

Samsung Galaxy s4

Mobile, Cell Phones in South Africa, Western Cape, Cape Town. Date October 24

Best bargain in big bay

Real Estate, Houses - Apartments for Sale in South Africa, Western Cape, Cape Town. Date October 25

VW Golf 6, 1.6 Trendline (Excellent condition)

Vehicles, Cars in South Africa, Western Cape, Cape Town. Date October 25

Horoscopes
Aquarius
Aquarius

Today you may want to bond with your children and need to connect to your imaginative and playful side. It may be that you are...read more

There are new stories on the homepage. Click here to see them.
 
English
Afrikaans
isiZulu

Hello 

Create Profile

Creating your profile will enable you to submit photos and stories to get published on News24.


Please provide a username for your profile page:

This username must be unique, cannot be edited and will be used in the URL to your profile page across the entire 24.com network.

Settings

Location Settings

News24 allows you to edit the display of certain components based on a location. If you wish to personalise the page based on your preferences, please select a location for each component and click "Submit" in order for the changes to take affect.








Facebook Sign-In

Hi News addict,

Join the News24 Community to be involved in breaking the news.

Log in with Facebook to comment and personalise news, weather and listings.