Kerry presses Haitians to vote 'without violence'

US Secretary of State John Kerry encourages Haitians to vote during this month’s presidential elections 'without violence and intimidation'

Photo by: AFP
Photo by: AFP

US Secretary of State John Kerry shakes hand with Haiti's President Michel Martelly at the national Palace in Port-au-Prince, Haiti, Tuesday, October 6, 2015

US Secretary of State John Kerry pressed the people, during his short visit to Haiti on Tuesday, to vote in the 25 October presidential vote in an orderly manner, regardless of any security concerns, to help "develop strong democratic institutions."

"Haiti needs governing institutions that are legitimate and representative, and those cannot come into being without free and fair elections that take part without intimidation, without violence," Kerry said in a statement.

"The United States condemns any violence and we encourage full participation in the election process," he added.

Kerry stated that he had a "productive" meeting with Haitian President Michel Martelly who argued that even though the 9 August election had been "far from perfect," but the upcoming presidential elections will be better organised and conducted.

"His (Martelly) real responsibility is to ensure that the Haitian police and other law enforcement officials have the wherewithal necessary to make people feel safe to go out and vote on election day," a senior State Department official said.

More than 50 candidates are scheduled to run for elections with some who are barely known to the public, adding that no runner is predicted to attain a total of more than 50% of the votes.

On 27 December, a runoff vote is scheduled to take place.

The first round of voting in August, was impaired by violence, low turnout and scam accusations, leading to the election of only a few candidates

A number of constituencies will be required to take place for the impending polls.

In addition, 2011 and 2014 legislative elections were canceled, igniting months of brutal street protests against President Martelly, who is currently constitutionally forbidden from seeking re-election.

Haiti is reported to be the poorest nation located in the Western Hemisphere, especially since in 2010, it was destroyed by an earthquake that killed more than 220,000 people, leaving the nation in great dependence of international donations and foreign aid, including about $4 billion from the US.

TRTWorld and agencies