PORT-AU-PRINCE – The polls closed at 4 p.m. on Sunday after an election day that transpired normally with only isolated incidents, where Haitians cast ballots for president after the 2015 elections were nullified due to alleged irregularities.
More than six million people were eligible to vote for 27 presidential hopefuls, as well as for National Congress lawmakers.
The results of the vote will be announced within a week, and if none of the candidates garners more than 50 percent of the ballots a runoff will be held on Jan. 29.
Shortly before the polls closed, the Provisional Election Council, or CEP, said that the day had transpired calmly, although a police presence was necessary at some polling places due to isolated incidents that resulted in several people being arrested for trying to create disturbances.
In remarks to the press, CEP chief Leopold Berlange said that two polling places, one in Roseau and the other in Valiere, did not open because they did not receive their election materials in time.
But, in general, he said, there were no notable incidents on election day.
Meanwhile, the head of the Organization of American States’ election observer mission, Juan Raul Ferreira, a former Uruguayan senator, said that election day evolved normally, although he, too, admitted that several isolated incidents occurred.
Once again running for president are Jovenel Moise, with the PHTK party, and Jude Celestin, with Lapeh, who in the Oct. 25, 2015, elections that were annulled received 32.81 percent and 25.27 percent of the votes, respectively.
These elections had been scheduled for Oct. 9 but were postponed due to the situation created by Hurricane Matthew, which on its passage over Haiti on Oct. 4 left at least 573 people dead and some 175,000 homeless, sparking one of the country’s worst humanitarian crises after the powerful 2010 earthquake.