Haitians Face Disarray At The Polls

"(NYTIMES)
Haiti — A dozen major candidates in Haiti’s first election since the January earthquake called for its cancellation on Sunday even before the voting had ended.

At a news conference in the capital, 12 of the 18 presidential candidates called on the national election council to halt voting nationwide because of “massive fraud.”

Citing what they said was an effort by the party of President Rene Preval to stuff ballot boxes and turn away voters who did not support Mr. Preval’s chosen candidate, the candidates called for protests if the election was not canceled.

“This is an earthquake of an election,” said Leslie Voltaire, one of the candidates. “This will divide the country, not unite it.” The candidates urged people to take to the streets peacefully to demonstrate and said the political parties would meet Monday to map out a solution. But such unity rarely emerges from conflict here. Haiti’s elections have frequently been marred by chaos, and while Sunday appeared less violent than those of the recent past, the path forward seemed as murky as the canals here that have been spreading cholera through the country.

The government did not respond to requests for comment.

Preliminary results, even before the fraud accusations, were not expected to be released until Dec. 7, leaving candidates to trade attacks and claims of victory or unjust defeat. Their supporters, with little work and an anger that has been building for months, will likely answer calls to fill the streets — and in fact, a march for Michel Martelly, a popular singer known as Sweet Micky, immediately followed the news conference. "