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Haitians patiently await election results

by Archives February 15, 2006

\Haitians hit the polls last week to vote for their next president, and preliminary results show former president Rene Preval is in the lead.

On Sunday, supporters of Preval took to the streets in Port-Au-Prince and chanted, “It’s never too early to celebrate.” Like all Haitians, Preval supporters are patiently awaiting the final results of the election.

“This is the right time for my countrymen and women to make a keen but careful check on who is going to lead the next generation of Haitians,” said Annie Gagnon, a Concordia student of Haitian descent. “I’m not there but I’ll for sure like to see a better change.”

For a winner to be declared, a candidate needs

50 per cent plus one vote to form a cabinet. But the Haiti Electoral Commission is not sure how long it

will take for them to determine if a second round is necessary.

On Election Day, election booths opened later than expected but closed four hours late to give ample time to those who were left behind during the peak hours. At the United Nations secured polling station, hundreds of pollsters gathered outside to exercise their right to vote.

Twenty years ago, when the dictatorial era ended in Haiti, the country was plagued into violence, corruption and poverty. The question of the country’s future is at stake due to the continuous gun violence that has erupted since the plight of former president Jean Bertrand Aristide.

The Capital Port-Au-Price has been the siege of non-stop crimes. Recently, a retired Canadian police officer stationed in Haiti, as part of a United Nations peace-monitoring plan to reinstate democracy, was killed in the Cite Soleil slum that is controlled by notorious gang leaders.

Since 2004, 9,000 UN troops are maintaining Haiti’s peace. But this hasn’t stopped the raping and looting that has threatened supplies from aid agencies to access remote areas of the country. Some Haitians in Montreal are not happy with the presence of the UN troops in their homeland, with some groups stating that, “Canada and the rest of the world must end the occupation as soon as possible.”

Meanwhile, the 15 member nations of the Caribbean community had already expelled Haiti from their regional group but promised to readmit it if Haiti’s elections were free and fair.

Foreign leaders have shown their concern about the elections, with Canadian observers taking part in an international body that is in Haiti to observe the elections. The U.S. State Department said it would work with the organization of American States to resolve problems, such as the corrections on the voter checklist where some registered voters names did not appear.

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