PORT-AU-PRINCE – Haiti’s Provisional Electoral Council, or CEP, has invalidated last year’s presidential elections and will hold new elections next Oct. 9 and Jan. 8.
The head of the council, Leopold Berlanger, told a press conference Monday that on Oct. 9 the first electoral round will be held, while the runoff balloting will be on Jan. 8, 2017.
In that way, the Provisional Electoral Council will be following the advice of the Verification Commission, which in May recommended that the results of the presidential elections held last year be annulled and that a new electoral process be set in motion.
The council will also organize the legislative elections that remain pending in some parts of the country.
“Following the work of the commission we are convinced that many things must be changed in the electoral process. The observations were correct and that’s why we have the obligation to move toward truly democratic elections,” he said.
The Verification Commission proposed the annulment of last year’s elections because of the irregularities detected, and recommended that new elections be held.
The commission said that among the faults detected was the impossibility to determine the number of voters who went to the polls, as well as the fact that “fraud” was committed in the presidential election.
“Fraud occurred throughout the electoral system, from top to bottom,” the Verification Commission said in its report of last May 30.
In his statement, Berlanger announced that “starting today we are going to train poll workers and everyone who is part of the electoral process, exactly as the Verification Commission recommends.”
The candidate for the Haitian Tet Kale Party, or PHTK, is Jovenel Moise, who, according to results of last October’s elections, came out ahead of opposition candidate Jude Celestin.
Haiti held its first electoral round on Oct. 25, 2015 to choose the nation’s president, the entire lower house and part of the Senate, as well as many city governments.
However, the runoff was postponed three times and President Michel Martelly finished his constitutional five-year term in office last February without handing over power to a legitimate successor. The interim presidency was passed on to Jocelerme Privert, who at the time was leader of the Senate.
Privert recently proposed that the runoff of the elections be held next October.