Haiti Elections: Polls Marred By Disorder, Dismay And Sporadic Violence
The Haitians voted for the first time in four years on Sunday. This election was a stern test for a politically impoverished country rocked by continuous political turmoil dismantling its stability.
Haiti’s parliament was dissolved in January after the scheduled legislative elections of 2011 and 2014 were cancelled.
In the Haitian capital, Port-au-Prince, men armed with rocks and bottles attacked the polling stations. About 50 of 1500 voting centers were “affected” by a mixture of violence and bureaucratic problems, reports Haiti’s official Electoral Council.
Polls began early in the morning and continued till 4 p.m. local time. The elections were held for the Chamber of Deputies and two-thirds of the senate.
Though Pierre-Louis Opont, the Council’s head, didn’t elucidate and stated that it was too early to predict how many ballots were impacted.
Polling was extended for two hours at some booths where violence interruption delayed the proceedings or voting began late.
Five people were assassinated and 26 were wounded in poll-related violence last month, according to reports.
The Caribbean Nation’s Plight For Stable Democracy
Ever since the overthrowing of the dictatorship of the Duvalier family, which ruled the Caribbean nation from 1957 to 1986, Haiti has struggled to form a stable democratic government; ensuing military coup and election frauds dismantled its stability. The country comprises 10 million people.
A devastating earthquake ravaged the country in 2010, killing tens and thousands of people. Large portions of the capital, including the presidential palace, were flattened by the tremors.
“Credible, inclusive, translucent and fair elections are key to long-term stability in Haiti,” Sandra Honoré, the special representative of the U.N. secretary general in Haiti, said in a press meet on the eve of the vote.
Since January, the senate with 10 of its 30 members failed to field a quorum while the 119-memer Chamber of Deputies sat empty during this period.
The Political Battle In This Elections, Low Turn Out
Haitian Tet Kale (Bald Headed) Party, named after President Michel Martelly’s famously smoothed scalp fielded dozens of candidates throughout the country.
Though Martelly couldn’t contest in the polls. Former President president René Préval The Vérité (Truth) Party is a fierce challenger.
Lavalas Family party, linked to twice deposed former President Jean-Bertrand Aristide, is the third political force in the elections.
Due to severe poverty, insecurity and corruption, turn-out predictions for the polls were low. Results are not expected within 6 to 10 days.
The first round of Presidential voting is scheduled on October 25.