Haiti holds tense presidential election

Haitians hold violence-free presidential election as they select their future leader from 50 candidates

Photo by: Reuters
Photo by: Reuters

Updated Oct 27, 2015

Haitian voters went to polling stations on Sunday to elect a new president, hoping for a new government that will strengthen the economy and do away with poverty from the impoverished nation. 

Haitians were selecting from more than 50 presidential candidates to succeed incumbent President Michel Martelly. President Martelly was constitutionally banned from seeking another term in Office.

Haitians were also electing new members of Congress, an election that was earlier canceled as a result of political violence in January.

About 15,000 policemen and UN peacekeeping forces were deployed to monitor and prevent any irregularities during the election.

Voter turnouts was high and elections were orderly organised across Haiti, however there were signs of confusions as some voters were not allowed to vote.  

Varnel Polycard, a vendor of phone charger, went away from a polling station as he complained that, "I'm here to vote, and they are trying to stop me," he said.  

Also at another polling station in Port-au-Prince's Martissant slum, an election officer repeatedly yelled at dozens of voters saying "No voting two times!" as they try to force their way.  

Security officers also reported the arrest of 27 people across Haiti for carrying out different offences.

Voters happy with election

A 26-year-old voter Franzty Jeudi in the capital, Port-au-Prince told the AFP, "On August 9, I had left home to go vote, but I saw people pushing each other around, people causing mayhem and throwing things."

"Today, it's going really well. I came to vote with my parents and we are at ease," he said earlier on Sunday.

Jovenel Moise, is among the favourite presidential candidate hailing from same party of incumbent President Martelly.

Mr Moise, a banana exporting businessman, is expected to face Jude Celestin, a Swiss-educated mechanical engineer on 27 December, during a run-off vote.  

Jude Celestin is expected to face Mr Moise on the 27 December run-off vote for president

Whoever emerges as winner, will confront a difficult task from Mr Materelly in February.

The US State Department's special coordinator for Haiti, Kenneth Merten, told The Associated Press that, "The government needs to stimulate growth so that the state can actually pick up the responsibilities that foreign assistance has been providing."

Haiti is the poorest country in the Americas eventually depending on international donations and aids largely from the United States and other countries.

In 2010, Haiti was devastated by a massive earthquake which killed thousands of people and left hundred thousands injured.  

TRTWorld and agencies