Haitians vote in overdue elections
PORT-AU-PRINCE (Reuters) – Haitians vote on Sunday for the first time in four years, selecting a new lower house of parliament and two-thirds of the Senate in a test of stability for an impoverished country continually rocked by political turmoil.
Haiti’s parliament dissolved in January after scheduled legislative elections in 2011 and 2014 were canceled. The previous presidential election, which began in 2010 and carried over into 2011, was marred by low turnout, violence and a delayed, disputed runoff.
Since January, the 119-member Chamber of Deputies has sat empty, and the Senate, with only 10 of its 30 members, has failed to field a quorum.
President Michel Martelly, who cannot run for re-election, has ruled by decree, for example appointing all the country’s mayors in the absence of municipal elections.
“Credible, inclusive, translucent and fair elections are key to long-term stability in Haiti,” Sandra Honore, the Special Representative of the U.N. Secretary General in Haiti, told Reuters on the eve of the vote.
More than 1,800 candidates from dozens of parties are running, and preliminary results are expected in six to 10 days. Poll are scheduled to be open from 6 a.m. to 4 p.m.