Haiti’s presidential campaign kicks off with only one candidate

An opposition candidate in Haiti’s upcoming presidential runoff has refused to participate in campaigning unless there are sweeping  reforms to the electoral process.

On Friday, Jude Celestin declared that he will not launch his campaign and will not participate in the January 24 polls until recommendations that an independent electoral commission presented earlier are fully implemented

That commission issued a series of recommendations that included an end to voting in private homes and the use of indelible ink on voter’s thumb to prevent multiple voting.

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Not all of the recommended measures have been implemented.

Celestin, the runner-up in Haiti’s first-round vote in October, had earlier refused to campaign until an independent electoral commission was established to study voting problems.

However,Celestin’s rival, Jovenel Moise started his campaign on Friday in the suburb of Petionville.

On Friday,  hundreds of opposition supporters took to the streets of Port-au-Prince to protest against what they said was “an electoral coup”.

The march ended outside parliament, which is scheduled to reconvene on Monday

In the October 25 first-round election, Moise drew 32.8 per cent of the vote against 25.3 per cent for Celestin, who dismissed the results as a “ridiculous farce.”

The sparked angry and sometimes violent street protests, with several opposition candidates sharply criticizing the Provisional Electoral Council (CEP).

Last month , the CEP postponed the December 27 presidential runoff to allow a five-member commission to address allegations of multiple voting and ballot tampering.

The opposition is demanding an independent review of the late October first round of voting, which it insists was rigged in favor of Moise, who is backed by the government.

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