UN chief, OAS concerned about postponement of polls in Haiti

The Secretary General of the United Nations, Ban Ki-moon

The Secretary General of the United Nations, Ban Ki-moon, and the Organization of American States (OAS) have expressed concern about the postponement of Sunday’s polls in Haiti.

Ban and the Washington-based OAS also called on all political actors to refrain from violence and complete the electoral process peacefully without further delay.

“The Secretary-General urges all political actors to reject all forms of violence and intimidation and refrain from any action that can further disrupt the democratic process and stability in the country,” said Ban in a statement issued by his spokesman , reaffirming the UN’s commitment to continue supporting the consolidation of democracy and stabilization in the French-speaking Caribbean country.

“He strongly urges all stakeholders to work towards the peaceful completion of the electoral process without delay, through the forging of a consensual solution that will allow the people of Haiti to exercise their right to vote for the election of a new President and the remaining representatives of the new Parliament,” the statement added.
The UN noted that tensions have been simmering since the first round of the elections in October.

Jovenel Moise, from the governing party, and former government executive Jude Celestin, the two top vote getters then, were set to face each other in the run-off, originally set for December 27.

According to reports, this second round was again postponed on Friday amid violent protests and the opposition’s refusal to participate.

The transfer of power to a new president is constitutionally mandated to take place on February 7.

The UN has maintained a peacekeeping operation, the UN Stabilization Mission in Haiti (MINUSTAH) since 2004.

With more than 4,500 troops and police deployed currently deployed in Haiti, MINUSTAH’s mandate has evolved over the years from supporting a transitional government to embracing earthquake recovery and facilitating the political process, the UN said.

Meanwhile, the OAS’ Electoral Observation Mission (EOM) in Haiti on Saturday called on all political stakeholders to engage in a “consensual, constructive dialogue to overcome the current political crisis and complete the electoral process.”
The appeal follows the decision of the Provisional Electoral Council (CEP) to suspend the presidential run-off scheduled for Sunday “in the face of a deteriorating security environment and threats to the electoral process.”

“The Mission strongly condemns the acts of violence across the country, including the incidents that have directly affected OAS observers during their deployment,” the statement said, adding that “the Mission will continue to monitor the situation in Haiti.”

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