PORT-AU-PRINCE, Haiti (AP) — Haiti held a final round of legislative contests as well as long-overdue municipal votes on Sunday, closing a repeatedly derailed election cycle that started in 2015.
President-elect Jovenel Moise’s political faction and its allies are hoping to increase their majority in Parliament with eight Senate runoffs. Voters were also choosing 5,500 district authorities in local elections whose tardiness over a decade has exasperated many.
Alix Pierre, a Port-au-Prince lawyer and one of hundreds of voters gathered at a polling station in the Canape Vert section of Haiti’s capital, said he was relieved the 2015 electoral cycle was finally concluding.
It took such a long time to get here,’’ he said after casting his vote.
Turnout elsewhere appeared to be paltry, with numerous voting centers in Port-au-Prince serving only a trickle of voters.
In the Port-au-Prince slum of Bel Air, Benite Oramise was the only voter in mid-morning at a school serving as a polling station.
I hope people will come after more church services are over. We should make our voices heard,’’ she said.
Across the country, balloting appeared to be mostly calm and orderly. Some 12,000 police officers were deployed — essentially the entire Haitian National Police Force — to maintain order.
There were a handful of disturbances reported by mid-afternoon, including one in the central town of Mirebalais, where somebody threw tear gas outside of a polling station, sending voters into a panic.
Moise’s oath-of-office ceremony is slated for Feb. 7.