Moise, Celestin into Haiti presidential run-off
07 November 2015, Nirapad News: Haiti’s presidential election will go to a runoff between ruling party candidate Jovenel Moise and Jude Celestin, close to former president Rene Preval, officials said Thursday.
The October 25 election was the latest attempt in the Americas’ poorest country to shed chronic political instability and work toward development.
But most of the more than 50 candidates who ran for president were not well known to voters. And the election commission said Thursday that turnout was just 26 percent.
An opposition supporter was shot dead near his party headquarters after the results were announced, party representative Assad Volcy said.
Moise took 32.8 percent of the votes in the first round last month while Celestin garnered 25.3 percent, the election commission said.
The runoff will be held December 27.
The tally released Thursday was preliminary. Final numbers are due out by the end of the month.
Moise, 47, was supported by the party of outgoing president Michel Martelly. He is a businessman turned political novice who until now worked in agriculture, mainly growing bananas. His nickname during the campaign was “the banana man.”
Celestin, 53, is making his second bid for the Haitian presidency.
He was disqualified from the second round in the 2010 election vote following a recount by the Organization of American States. This time, he was considered the frontrunner.
The first round of voting was largely peaceful, in contrast to violence during August legislative elections that left two people dead.
In Thursday’s incident, a member of a party called Pitit Dessalines was shot and killed near the party headquarters, Volcy said.
Volcy accused the government of being responsible for the shooting.
The elections came nearly five years after Martelly came to power in a country that has failed to find democratic stability since the end of the 30-year Duvalier dictatorship in 1986.
The pop singer and political novice took office in 2011, the year after a catastrophic earthquake killed more than 200,000, flattened most buildings in the capital and left hundreds of thousands living on the streets.
Five years on, more than 85,000 people still live in makeshift camps, according to Amnesty International.
And a nagging conflict between the executive branch and the opposition since Martelly came to power delayed the staging of legislative polls for years.
Fifty-four candidates ran for president and a chance to lift the destitute nation out of its systemic poverty.
But that abundance of hopefuls was not a sign of democratic health.
Most were unknown to the general public, and only a handful released policy platforms.
Whoever takes over from Martelly on February 7 will face huge challenges and a humanitarian emergency.
Six million of Haiti’s 10 million people live in extreme poverty, getting by on less than $2.50 a day.