Thousands of Haitians riot in capital over election results
A former first lady and government protege will face off in January. Many observers question 'inconsistencies' in the Haiti election results.
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Préval took to the radio today to call for calm. "This is not how the country is supposed to work," he said. "People are suffering because of all this damage."Skip to next paragraph
He also criticized the United States for interfering with the poll, saying "the American Embassy is not the CEP."
Candidates have 72 hours to file appeals against the results, which could lead to uncertainty in the days ahead in this troubled country, still reeling from the Jan. 12 earthquake and now an outbreak of cholera.
The Organization of American States/Caribbean Community mission had endorsed the election despite protestations of massive fraud immediately after the Nov. 28 poll, but the US embassy statement and increased protests could lead to more scrutiny.
The United Nations has also raised recent concerns, with UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon on Friday saying, "The irregularities now seem more serious than initially thought." In a new statement today, Mr. Ban again expressed concern over the allegations of fraud but appealed for calm.
"The elections were deeply flawed from the beginning," says Brian Concannon, executive director of the Institute for Justice and Democracy in Haiti in Boston. No results last night, he says, would have reflected the "people's will."
"Haiti is set up for a government that does not have popular support. In the next five years [the government] will have to make a lot of hard decisions, they will have to induce the population to make many sacrifices, and the only way you can do that is to have popular trust or to use force," says Mr. Concannon.
Some have criticized Haiti for moving forward with the vote, despite all the troubles it faces. But many in the international community said that holding elections as planned was essential to bringing normalcy back to the country as soon as possible.
"If you delayed the vote by three or six months, what would have guaranteed you would have a better outcome? It was important that Haiti proceeded with this,” Haitian political scientist Jean-Germain Gros at the University of Missouri, St. Louis told the Monitor.