Sunday, November 28, 2010

Haiti Elections A Shambles

Haiti Elections A Shambles - Voters say they can't find their names at polling centers as allegations of ballot stuffing and other fraud abound. Twelve of 18 presidential candidates call for the elections to be canceled.

With the country reeling from the effects of January's earthquake and a devastating cholera epidemic, the general elections slid into chaos Sunday as thousands complained they could not cast ballots and a majority of presidential candidates accused the Haitian government of committing "massive fraud."

Twelve of the 18 presidential candidates issued a declaration saying the hastily prepared elections should be canceled and that the people should "mobilize" to reject the results. They accused President Rene Preval of conspiring with the country's electoral council to ensure that his party, Unity, was in control of Parliament, and its candidate, Jude Celestin, won the presidency.

Protests erupted in parts of the rubble-strewn capital, Port-au-Prince, and groups of young men vandalized several voting centers.
"Preval is a thief!" shouted Steve Laguerre, 21, at a protest in Petionville in the afternoon. "He should go to prison."

Laguerre, a student, had his voter registration card with him but was turned away from a polling center in Petionville because his name was not on the list of registered voters for that site — a complaint heard throughout the nation.

There were no reports of significant violence. But if history is any indicator, Haitians will take to the streets en masse in upcoming days if they feel the elections have been stolen.

"We're going to shut everything down," said Wilner Bae, 34, at the Petionville protest.

The head of the electoral council acknowledged that there had been "some problems," according to radio reports, but the council later declared the elections a success.

Haiti Elections A Shambles

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