PORT-AU-PRINCE – Haiti’s Provisional Election Council warned Wednesday that it will sanction candidates who declare themselves to be winners without waiting for the Nov. 28 publication of official results from the national elections last weekend.
The council on Wednesday once again asked candidates and their supporters to calmly await the results of the presidential vote, which was held last Sunday after the October 2015 election was nullified due to alleged irregularities and rescheduled for Oct. 9, 2016, but then postponed due to the emergency arising with the passage of Hurricane Matthew.
In a communique, the election body said that it will punish any candidate or political party that organizes demonstrations before the official results are released.
The candidates and parties involved could be expelled from the election process, according to the election decree, the council said.
The statement was issued by election authorities days after hundreds of supporters of Lavalas Family presidential candidate Marise Narcisse took to the streets of Port-au-Prince to proclaim their candidate’s alleged win in the Sunday election.
The followers of Narcisse, who came in fourth in the 2015 balloting, took to the streets after the PHTK party said that its candidate, Jovenel Moise, who had come in first in the invalidated election, garnered the most votes on Sunday.
The election body asked the public not to give credence to claims that some political parties had begun to issue about the results.
Twenty-seven candidates were in the running for president in the recent election, which also included races for members of parliament.
The European Union on Wednesday called upon the election body to complete the vote count with “full transparency” and said it will continue monitoring the election process via the experts it has deployed in Haiti, along with the analysis of national and international observers.
If none of the presidential candidates secures a simple majority, a runoff will be held on Jan. 29.
Since Feb. 15, 2016, a provisional government headed by Jocelerme Privert, has been leading the country, after the term of President Michel Martelly expired without a successor having been chosen amid the country’s political crisis.