OAS experts dispute Haiti election result

OAS officials in Haiti said they were still working on the final version of the report on the election results.

OAS experts dispute Haiti election result

A leaked report on Haiti's disputed Nov. 28 elections by Organization of American States experts recommends that a government-backed presidential candidate be eliminated from a second-round run-off, a U.S. media report said on Monday.

The Associated Press, which said it had obtained a copy of the OAS team's draft report, cited the document as challenging the preliminary election results released on Dec. 7 by Haiti's Provisional Electoral Council (CEP), which had put government technocrat Jude Celestin in the second round.

The Provisional Electoral Council said it had not yet received the final report by the OAS experts who have worked since late last month to verify the contested results from the chaotic presidential and legislative polls.

At a news conference with Haitian journalists late on Monday, outgoing President Rene Preval also indicated that he had not seen the report.

"I have nothing to say about the (OAS) recommendations because I have not read them," Preval said. "I don't have them in my hands."

The leaked report's recommendation seemed likely to roil the edgy political climate in Haiti just days before the country and the international community commemorate the first anniversary of the Jan. 12 quake.

The preliminary Dec. 7 results triggered several days of street riots and protests, mostly by supporters of third-place candidate and popular musician Michel Martelly who was edged out of the second round by Celestin. Both finished behind opposition matriarch Mirlande Manigat, who received the most votes in the first round, but not enough for an outright win.

"The Provisional Electoral Council does not have the OAS report," CEP Director-General Pierre-Louis Opont told Reuters.

OAS officials in Haiti said they were still working on the final version of the report on the election results to be delivered to the CEP and Preval.

"We don't have a final report as yet, we're working on it ... We hope to have it finished by the end of the day," said Ambassador Colin Granderson, who heads a joint OAS-Caribbean Community mission that observed the Nov. 28 elections.

OAS and CEP officials said they could not comment on the contents of the leaked OAS report as cited by the Associated Press. One official called the leak "disappointing."

The leaked report cited by the Associated Press said the OAS experts found correct election procedures had not been followed and that there were signs that vote tally sheets had been altered.

According to the review quoted by the Associated Press, Martelly, a star of Haiti's Kompa music, would end up in second place in the first round with 22.2 percent, while Preval protege Celestin would drop to third place, and out of the second round, with 21.9 percent.

Manigat would remain in first place and in the second round with 31.6 percent of the vote.

This compared with the preliminary results announced on Dec. 7 by the CEP which gave Manigat 31.37 percent, Celestin 22.48 percent, and Martelly 21.84 percent.

Election observers say that even if the CEP heeds the OAS experts' findings, it still has to complete a disputes procedure before it can formally announce final revised results from the Nov. 28 first round vote.

This means Haiti will not be able to hold a presidential election second round run-off before February.


Agencies

Last Mod: 11 Ocak 2011, 13:33
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