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Haitian officials mostly satisfied with conduct of Sunday’s poll

haitiPORT-AU-PRINCE, Haiti--Haitian government officials and election authorities expressed satisfaction on Sunday with the unfolding of a crucial legislative ballot, despite various media reports that stressed a series of violent incidents that caused a number of polling stations to close in a chaotic situation, with ballots scattered on the floor.

Prime Minister Evans Paul and President of the nine-member electoral council Pierre- Louis Opont recognised that the organisation of the ballot was marked by a series of violent incidents, but they argued that Election Day was globally a success.

“The electoral council is in general satisfied with the unfolding of Election Day,” Opont told reporters during a press briefing on Sunday.

“We’ve had incidents that we will assess, but the police have played their role and we can say that Election Day was a victory,” Opont said.

Paul made similar comments during the joint press briefing with the head of the electoral council tasked with organising the election.

“The government is globally satisfied with voting operations. Globally does not mean totally, but the percentage of satisfaction is huge,” Paul said.

Haitians went to vote to elect 119 members of the lower chamber and 20 of the 30-member senate. Voter turnout was obviously low, and a runoff election is set to take place on October 25, at the same time as the first round of the presidential ballot, while the successor to President Michel Martelly will take office in February 2016.

Haiti’s police chief Godson Orelus also expressed satisfaction with the work done by the police to prevent violence and act against wrongdoers.

“I congratulate our policemen on a job well done. We have arrested violators, confiscated illegal weapons and we have cleared roads that were blocked with flaming barricades,” Orelus told Haitian-Caribbean News Network (HCNN).

Godson said out of more than 1,500 polling centres, only 26 were affected by unfortunate incidents up to midday on Sunday.

Government and election officials acknowledged the violence and irregularities that affected the election, but claimed that they are not likely to change the results.

“We have witnessed a number of irregularities, violence and massive fraud orchestrated by people in position of power,” said Pierre Esperance, head of the National Network to Defend Human Rights RNDDH, who supervised voting operations as a national observer.

“We’ll watch and see what the electoral council will say about the outcome of this election,” Esperance told HCNN.

The first election results are expected to be released in about one week, but the voting trends could be known much earlier, because tabulation sheets will be posted on the electoral council’s website within the coming days. ~ Curaçao Chronicle ~

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