The executive director of Haiti’s embattled Provisional Electoral Council said technically everything is being prepared for the Dec. 27 presidential runoff between government-backed candidate Jovenel Moïse and the former head of the state construction agency, Jude Célestin.
But a decision over whether the vote will go on as scheduled, or be postponed until January, wasn’t up to him, Mosler Georges told reporters Monday. The fate of the runoff is up to the nine-member council, known as the CEP, he said.
“Technically, we are ready,” Georges said. “It only takes a weekend for me to train poll workers.”
With less than two weeks before the vote, Haiti remains embroiled in a post-electoral crisis with no acceptable solution in sight. Allegations of ballot tampering, fraudulent tabulations and widespread procedural breakdowns have fanned a widening chorus of doubt about the credibility of the Oct. 25 first round. Calling the results a “ridiculous farce,” Célestin is demanding an independent verification of the vote in order to go on.
His request for transparency has been joined by other opposition presidential candidates, local election observers, human rights organizations, powerful religious leaders and the one lone CEP member who didn’t sign off on the initial results. Jaccéus Joseph told Radio Caraibes’ Ranmase program Saturday that he supports a commission to provide transparency and credibility into the electoral process. His position contradicts that of some members who have threatened to resign if any commission, including one to scrutinize the runoff, is put in place.
The CEP and international community have rejected the verification requests, even though a coalition of eight presidential candidates brought together by Célestin is threatening to plunge Haiti into a transitional government if certain changes are not made.
Georges noted that should the elections be postponed, they could be held on Jan. 10 or Jan. 17 with enough time to meet the Feb. 7 handover of power from President Michel Martelly. Still outstanding are the final results from 25 legislative races that had to be re-run because of violence and fraud-marred Aug. 9 balloting. Results could be published Thursday, giving candidates less than two weeks to campaign for their runoffs.