Haitian opposition protest international election mission

Haitian opposition supporters hold demonstrations against international election mission that will monitor run-off presidential elections, claiming it will favor governing party candidate

Photo by: AP
Photo by: AP

Demonstrators march in Port-au-Prince, to protest the Organization of American States' deployment of a special mission meant to ease the country's political crisis.

Haitian opposition groups rallied against an international election mission that will monitor the country’s presidential elections, claiming it is biased in favour of government-backed candidate.

The Organisation of American States (OAS) will act at the request of outgoing President Michel Martelly, after violent protests led to the postponement of elections that had been scheduled for Jan. 24.

Inaction of government to postpone the elections until a day before the scheduled date kick started violent protests by opposition, who defied the results of first round that they claim “marred by fraud.”

The ruling party's candidate Jovenel Moise who came out ahead in the first round of elections had been accused of fraud by several of the 54 presidential candidates.

Protesters step on a electoral poster of presidential candidate Jovenel Moise as they march to protest against the government and the electoral process in Port-au-Prince, Haiti, January 29, 2016.

Opposition candidate Jude Celestin, who came in second in the first round, had withdrawn from the presidential elections, alleging that electoral authorities favour the ruling party.

The protesters are demanding fresh elections and the creation of an interim government for the time being. They also want elections to be held after President Michel Martelly leaves office next month.  

In the latest round of protests, demonstrators marched down the streets of the capital Port-au Prince with red cardboard signs in hand that read "Down with the OAS."

Protesters march to protest against the government and the electoral process in Port-au-Prince, Haiti on January 29, 2016. 

"The time has come that we take the destiny of our country in hand after 212 years of destruction, and the OAS is always in the middle of these conflicts," student Joenson Versailles said.

While human rights group say party monitors who had been put in place to ensure the accuracy of the election process voted multiple times in exchange for bribes, OAS earlier endorsed the outcome following an assessment of election process in the first round.   

Since 1986, when president-for-life Jean-Claude "Baby Doc" Duvalier fled a revolt, the Caribbean island nation, which is wracked by poverty and the after effects of a devastating 2010 earthquake, has struggled repeatedly to hold credible elections.

TRTWorld and agencies