Haiti to redo both rounds of disputed presidential election

In this Oct. 10, 2015 file photo, campaign posters promoting presidential candidate Jovenel Moise, of the PHTK political party, cover metal sheeting behind a painting for sale of the National Palace in Port-au-Prince, Haiti.
Associated Press / Dieu Nalio Chery, File

PORT-AU-PRINCE, Haiti (AP) _ Haitian electoral officials announced Monday that a new presidential election will be held in October with additional safeguards in place to avoid the widespread fraud that marred last year’s voting and led to the imposition of an interim government.

The first round of the new presidential election will be Oct. 9 and, if no one secures a majority, a runoff would follow on Jan. 8, Electoral Council President Leopold Berlanger said at a news conference.

All 54 candidates who ran in the disputed October election would be permitted to run again, Berlanger said.

The CEP announced a series of measures aimed at reducing the opportunity for fraud in the upcoming election including an end to the ability of poll workers and observers to vote wherever they want, a practice that many believe led to the large number of multiple voting by individuals.

The top finisher last time was Jovenel Moise, from the party of former President Michel Martelly. He was trailed by Jude Celestin, a businessman tied to the president before Martelly’s term.

But a widespread perception of fraud led to the cancellation of the second round and appointment of interim President Jocelerme Privert.

Last month, a special commission reported significant fraud and professional misconduct. The panel examined 25 percent of the roughly 13,000 tally sheets from polling stations and found about 628,000 untraceable votes.

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