Haiti Senate passes resolution calling for halt to elections

Haiti Senate approves resolution calling for suspension of presidential elections, following claims of fraud in electoral process

Photo by: Reuters
Photo by: Reuters

A man carrying a gas cylinder walks next to electoral posters of presidential candidate Jovenel Moise in Port-au-Prince, Haiti, January 20, 2016

Haitian Senate approved a resolution aiming to suspend the presidential runoff set for Jan. 24, following claims of fraud in the electoral process that led to violent protests throughout the country.

Protests began after the opposition candidate Jude Celestin, who came second in the first round, alleged that electoral authorities favour the ruling party. Celestin unofficially withdrew from the presidential elections.

The ruling party's candidate Jovenel Moise had been accused of fraud by several of the 54 presidential candidates.

Protesters took to the streets on Monday to demand fresh elections to be held after President Michel Martelly leaves office next month, and the creation of an interim government for the time being.

Martelly, who is barred from seeking a consecutive term, said opposition is spreading rumours of fraud to improve their favourability in the election.

Whether the resolution backed by 15 Senate members will be effective is unclear. The Haitian Senate consists of 30 members and 6 of the seats are currently vacant.

Opposition Senator Steven Benoit said the resolution may help motivate authorities to take action. Benoit was also among the presidential candidates in the first round.

Electoral authorities said the ballot will contain the opposition leader’s name.

TRTWorld and agencies