Group calls for changes to Haiti’s electoral council

A group of opposition presidential candidates has called for changes to the country’s electoral council and police hierarchy ahead of next month’s presidential runoff.

Led by presidential candidate Jude Célestin, the group, dubbed the G8, made their demand in a communiqué issued late Sunday .

According to the group, there is need for a independent recount , a  transition government and the scripting of a new constitution.

“The G8 is convinced that honest, free, transparent and democratic elections cannot be obtained under the presidency of Joseph Michel Martelly without changes in the (Provisional Electoral Council), without  changes in some units of the (Haiti National Police) and the command at departmental offices, and without the end of reprisals and repression by police against peaceful demonstrators,” the candidates wrote.

The group also called on Haitians “to continue to exercise their right to peacefully demonstrate to enforce their will and not to give into blackmail, intimidation and manipulation.”

The communiqué was issued after days of meetings and speculation about whether Célestin will go into the December  27 presidential runoff against government-backed candidate Jovenel Moise.

Since the release of the election results on October 25, thousands of protesters have taken to the streets amid allegations that the vote was plagued by  massive  fraud.

The group has declared that without major changes fair elections will not be held while outgoing president Michel Martelly is in power .

Last week, the Provisional Electoral Council (CEP) announced the start of  the campaign period for the second round of the presidential elections , stating that it  will end on December 22, five days before the run-off poll on December 27.

The Council invited  the two presidential candidates, Jovenel Moïse and Jude Célestin, as well as the cartels of local authorities,” to scrupulously comply with the prescribed of Article 115.1 of the Electoral Decree of March 2, 2015 in the course of their respective campaign”.

The CEP said it was also relying “on the commitment and willingness of all actors, particularly those involved in the second round of presidential elections, to create the climate of security essential to the proper continuation of the process”.

Moise, who has never held political office and was picked by Martelly as a successor, had received 508, 761 votes or 32.7 per cent, while Celestin of the LAPEH party, who is backed by the opposition, had polled 392, 782 or 25.29 per cent of the votes case.

But the announcement by the nine-member CEP set off a new wave of protests in Cabaret, where supporters of Moise Jean-Charles, one of the leading candidates from a field of 54, denounced the results.

Media reports said at least one police officer was shot and injured.

 

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