After months of delays, and the devastation of Hurricane Matthew, Haitians will finally vote on Sunday.
Election tensions spilled on to Haiti’s streets with shots fired outside the presidential palace as various candidates claimed victory in a re-run vote in the impoverished Caribbean country.
Haitians are counting on their next president to lift the country out of political limbo and repair damage from Hurricane Matthew, which devastated the country last month, killing up to 1,000 people and leaving 1.4 million needing aid.
Haitians are meanwhile being asked to remain patient and wait for official election results, after several factions have made early declarations of victory as well as accusations of fraud.
Nearly 1,000 Haitian election workers began 12-hour shifts inside a warehouse on Monday, tabulating the results of the weekend’s presidential and legislative voting.
Just one day after polls closed, hundreds of supporters of the Lavalas Family, the party of former president Jean-Bertrand Aristide, took to the streets of Port-au-Prince.
Supporters of the Tet Kale Party of former President Michel Martelly, meanwhile, sent out text messages insisting their presidential candidate, Jovenel Moise, was victorious in Sunday’s balloting and that no second round would be needed.
International observers asked Haitians to await the results as demonstrators had begun accusing other parties of “stealing” the election.
Despite a low turnout of less than 22 percent, no election results are expected to be issued by Haiti’s Provisional Electoral Council before Sunday.
Most tally sheets from voting centres were still being transported to the capital by trucks from districts across the mountainous country with no shortage of dilapidated roads.
According to Al Jazeera’s Teresa Bo, who was reporting from Port-au-Prince, many Haitians in remote areas were unable to vote due to the devastation from natural disasters, including the earthquake in 2010, and the lack of polling stations.
Uder Antoine, executive director of a revamped electoral council that is getting high marks for organising Sunday’s unusually smooth election, expressed confidence that tabulation workers will deliver accurate, transparent results that will be accepted.
“It’s been many years since Haiti has had an election like this one. The nation woke up calm, people went to work, and kids went to school. I’m very satisfied,” AP news agency quoted Antoine as saying.
Members of the Organization of American States’ observer mission said they would observe the 24-hour tabulation process until preliminary results are published.
At a news conference, OAS official Gerardo de Icaza said it was important for people to “wait for the official results and not be swayed by political declarations”.