Irregularities And Fraud Delay Haiti Election Results

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News Americas, PORT-AU-PRINCE, Haiti, Weds. Mar. 30, 2011: No preliminary results in the Haitian election will be disclosed tomorrow due to irregularities and fraud uncovered at the vote-counting center.

That’s according to Gaillot Dorsinvil, the president of the Haiti’s Provisional Electoral Council. The Council, in a brief statement Tuesday, said officials found a “high level” of fraud and irregularities of various kinds at the tabulation center in the capital, Port-au-Prince.

The statement comes as Haitians were counting on early results for Thursday. But Dorsinvil said the results of the Presidential run-off from March 20th are now expected to be released Monday, April 4th. Final results are due on April 16th.

Michel “Sweet Micky” Martelly and Mirlande Manigat, a former first lady and senator and longtime fixture on the political scene, are competing to replace current President, Rene Preval.

Interestingly, Dorsinvil’s comments come even as international monitors, who are observing the counting process, praised the election, insisting it was a stark difference from last November’s.

Yesterday, Assistant Secretary General of the Organization of American States (OAS), Albert R. Ramdin, praised the “commitment to peace and orderly conduct” of the Haitian people in the second round of elections. Speaking to stakeholders in Washington DC, at a meeting of the Group of Friends of Haiti, Ambassador Ramdin said he hopes the elections will be “the beginning of stability, recovery and reconstruction for the benefit of the Haitian people.”

The OAS official described the political climate during the second round of elections as “relatively stable” compared to the first round. The return of former Presidents Aristide and Duvalier ahead of the elections, he said, “did not appear to have any real impact or intervene with the process itself.”

According to Ambassador Ramdin, Haiti’s Provisional Electoral Council (CEP) also appeared to make an effort to implement some of the recommendations contained in the OAS Expert Report, following the first round of elections in November, 2010. “Things were not perfect, but we saw that there was an attempt to improve,” said Ramdin.

An official report on the elections is expected to be presented by Mission Chief Colin Granderson. A new leader is expected to assume the country’s highest office sometime between April 15th and May 14th, when the term of current President Preval expires.

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