PORT-AU-PRINCE – Haiti’s Provisional Electoral Council said Wednesday that the presidential election set for Oct. 9 must be postponed because of the effects of Hurricane Matthew.
“For now, we cannot guarantee the distribution of (election) materials in the entire country,” council chairman Leopord Berlanger told a press conference in the capital.
The new date for the election will be announced next week, he said.
As recently as two days ago, the electoral council said the already long-delayed presidential vote would take place on Sunday, despite forecasts showing Haiti in the path of the powerful storm.
Matthew made landfall Tuesday in southwestern Haiti, forcing thousands from their homes and leaving entire communities cut off.
The hurricane is blamed for nine deaths here in the Western Hemisphere’s poorest nation, which has yet to recover from the devastating earthquake of January 2010.
Haitians went to the polls last October to choose a new president, but those elections were voided due to irregularities.
A week after President Michel Martelly’s term officially ended in early February, Jocelerme Privert was named interim head of state pending a fresh vote.
Though 27 people are running for president, the main contenders are Jovenel Moise, representing the ruling party, and opposition hopeful Jude Celestin.