After hurricane, Haiti to hold long-awaited vote

After months of delays, and the devastation of Hurricane Matthew, Haitians will finally vote on Sunday.

Haitians go to the polls on Sunday to elect a president with many hoping the country will be restored to constitutional order after more than a year of political crisis.

Nearly 6.2 million voters are eligible to cast their votes to choose from a vast field of 27 presidential candidates.

Originally held in October last year the election result was scrapped after politicians complained of widespread voter fraud. The annulment of the result provoked nationwide protests.

“I am so happy to be able to vote tomorrow and I will be voting for Jude Celestin so he can bring change to this country and this electoral process its finally over,” Jean Enock, who supports Jude Celestin, one of the presidential candidates, told Al Jazeera.

With the depreciation of the currency, the gourde, the cost of living has risen sharply. Haiti is deeply in debt and public coffers are largely depleted. The southwest is in shambles from last month’s Hurricane Matthew and parts of the north have been battered by recent floods.

I lost my ID in the hurricane, my tent was destroyed and I had to rebuild another one. I tried to get a new ID but they did not give me a new one,” Medjin Pierre, who is among thousands of quake survivors living in tents in an area known as Delmas 33, told Al Jazeera, 

Though there is a long list of presidential hopefuls, in reality only a handful have a chance of making it past the first round.

READ MORE: Haiti poll date set after being delayed on fraud charge

Any candidate who wins more than half of the votes cast on Sunday will be declared the winner. Otherwise, a run-off will be held on January 29. 

Much will depend on who can turn out his or her own supporters with turnout not expected to be high in a country that has learned not to expect too much from its rulers.

The Organization of American States (OAS) has sent a hundred election monitors to help prevent fraud this time round.

“There are no guarantees that it won’t happen but at least they have taken necessary steps to prevent it,” Juan Raul Ferreira, OAS chief of mission told Al Jazeera.

“What is important is that the elections happen so Haiti can go back to democracy and with that the country can move forward.”

Source: Al Jazeera, News Agencies


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