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World Affairs

Haiti Again Suspends Its Presidential Runoff. Few Solutions In Sight

Haitians protest their electoral system this week.
Haitians protest their electoral system this week.

This afternoon Haiti once again postponed its presidential runoff election.

The vote – originally slated for last month – was going to be held on Sunday. But Haitian election officials said they canceled it because it was too hazardous. Street protests have gotten violent in recent days, with demonstrators condemning what they call a fraudulent and incompetent electoral process.

This is the second time the presidential runoff has been suspended. It was first scheduled for December 27. But it was called off amid charges that President MichelMartellyhad rigged the vote in favor of his candidate,JovenelMoïse. (By lawMartellycannot run for a second term.)

A new vote was set for January 24. ButMoïse’sopponent – JudeCélestin– decided to boycott it. In a Miami Heraldop-ed today he called the runoff a “farce.”

Célestin hailed the electioncancelation as a “victory for democracy.” But for impoverished Haiti it’s more likely a lose-lose situation.

Even if the vote were held on Sunday, the winner would carry scant legitimacy. But it’s uncertain now when or if Haiti can pull together a credible election. A new president is supposed to be sworn in February 7.

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