Haitian President Michel Martelly has announced that a postponed presidential runoff vote will be held more than two weeks late, on January 17.

Martelly said he received two letters from Haiti's Provisional Electoral Council warning that to fulfill the constitutional mandate of inaugurating a new president on Febuary 7, the runoff should be held by January 17 at the latest.

On Friday, Martelly - who is constitutionally barred from running for re-election - called on Haitians "to vote en masse, like they should, for the person who best represents them."

The council earlier postponed the December 27 presidential runoff to allow a five-member commission to address allegations of multiple voting and ballot tampering.

The opposition is demanding an independent review of the late October first round of voting which it insists was rigged in favour of government-backed candidate Jovenel Moise. Its candidate, Jude Celestin, came in second.

The first round of elections took place on October 25 and involved 54 candidates.

International observers, led by the Organization of American States (OAS), which monitors elections across Latin America, acknowledged some voting irregularities, but had initially sanctioned the first round of voting.

Source: Agencies