Poll shows most Haitians would vote if elections were fair

Poll suggests most Haitians would vote if they had confidence that elections were fair

Photo by: Reuters
Photo by: Reuters

Protesters march during a demonstration against the electoral process in Port-au-Prince, Haiti, January 22, 2016.

A poll released by an independent research group on Wednesday suggests that most Haitians would go to polling stations if they had confidence that the elections in their country were fair.

The Brazil-based Igarape Institute stated that teams of university-educated Haitians launched a survey about electoral issues with 1,766 randomly sampled adults across Haiti in late January only days before the Jan. 24 presidential and legislative runoff elections were postponed by the country's electoral council.

The researchers said responses show that while there is deep voter disenchantment in Haiti, some three-quarters of respondents would vote if they were convinced the process was fair.

Report co-author Athena Kolbe, an assistant professor of social work at the State University of New York in Brockport, suggests this indicates Haitians haven't lost faith in democracy.

"Democracy needs to be done right. It can't be controlled and manipulated by either external influences or powerful elites within Haiti. Democracy will work in Haiti but it needs to be one vote for one person," she said.

Roughly 26 percent of Haiti’s 5.8 million registered voters turned out for the Oct. 25 elections, according to the country's Provisional Electoral Council.

However, only 285 respondents, or 19.5 percent of voters, indicated to the institute’s pollsters that they participated.

Haitian observer groups suspect most of the votes on Oct. 25 were cast by "mandataires," political party representatives told to be at polling stations.

An observer mission from the Organization of American States noted some "irregularities" after that vote but concluded that preliminary results appeared to be in line with what they saw on election day.

According to the official results, the ruling party candidate Jovenel Moise who is backed by President Michel Martelly, received 32.8 percent of the vote which puts him in a runoff with the opposition candidate Jude Celestin who said there was “massive fraud” after gaining 25.3 percent of the vote.  

Haitian authorities have been struggling to resolve a political and constitutional crisis as opposition on Tuesday refused a proposal to form an interim government drawn up by the country’s outgoing President Michel Martelly who is scheduled to leave office on Sunday.

TRTWorld and agencies