Haiti’s election chief sets date for electoral run-off

Head of the Provisial Electoral Council (CEP), Pierre-Louis Opont

Head of the Provisial Electoral Council (CEP), Pierre-Louis Opont says the date for the presidential and legislative runoff votes will be January 24.

Following a meeting late Tuesday with other members of the CEP, Opont, in a letter to President Michel Martellly said he can “guarantee” that the council will be able to organise the final election round, a week later.

This anonouncement follows uncertainty that was voiced by the CEP in a letter that was sent to Martley on Monday.

In that letter the CEP said more time was needed to organise the runoffs and 12 days of preparation “will not be sufficient”.

Last week, Martelly had announced last week that the elections council was warning that the runoffs must be held by January 17 at the latest to fulfill the constitutional mandate of inaugurating a new president February 7.

The run-off was scheduled to take place two weeks ago, but was jettisoned after opposition factions alleged fraud during the first round in October.

A special commission was asked to investigate the electoral process following widespread street protests.

In his speech, Martelly, who is constitutionally prohibited from seeking re-election, urged nationals respect the election rules and go to the polls.

The opposition is demanding an independent review of the late October first round of voting, which it insists was rigged in favor of government-backed candidate – banana exporter, Jovenel Moise.

Moise will go up against the former head of a construction company, Jude Celestin, who came second in the first round of voting.

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