PORT-AU-PRINCE – The Electoral Observation Mission of the Organization of American States (EOM/OAS) in Haiti completed Friday the deployment of 130 members around the country to evaluate the voting process that will take place this Sunday.
The team of experts and observers of 24 nationalities, headed by Uruguayan ex-Sen. Juan Raul Ferreira, will observe the balloting this Nov. 20 in Haiti’s 10 provinces, the organization said in a statement.
The mission includes specialists who carry out in-depth analyses of key aspects of the process, including electoral organization and technology, voter registration, electoral justice and the participation of women.
The OAS has observed the voting process since 2015, when election results were ultimately thrown out due to serious irregularities.
During this period “we have seen improvements with regard to the phases leading up to the electoral process, despite the adverse circumstances,” mission chief Juan Raul Ferreira said.
The EOM/OAS appealed to citizens to take part in these efforts by going out to vote massively but in an orderly way this Sunday, and called on candidates to act responsibly so that a democratically elected president, as well as legislators and senators, can take office without problems in 2017.
In Sunday’s election, 27 candidates will run for president of Haiti, while on the same day 16 senators and 25 lower-house members will complete the bicameral legislature.
If none of the 27 presidential candidates obtains a majority on Sunday, the top two finishers will face each other in a runoff set for Jan. 29.
The main presidential contenders are Jovenel Moise, representing the ruling party, and opposition stalwart Jude Celestin.
These elections should have been held last Oct. 9 but were postponed due to the crisis created by Hurricane Matthew, which swept through Haiti on Oct. 4, leaving at least 573 dead and some 175,000 displaced by the storm and living in shelters.