United Nations, New York: A senior United Nations envoy to Haiti has urged the country’s major political parties to act with moderation during the electoral process and to honour the final result of the polls.

Juan Gabriel Valdes made his comments as the UN Stabilization Mission in Haiti (Minustah), working with the UN Development Programme (UNDP) and the country’s US-backed transitional government, presented the leading political parties with a strategy document for sustainable development.

During the meeting, Valdes asked the candidates to show tolerance and moderation during the electoral process and respect the final decision of the Haitian people. Among those attending were leading political figures, including candidates contesting the presidential elections.

“The coming elections mark a decisive step for Haiti’s future,” he said, adding that Minustah and the Haitian police were working together, along with electoral observers, to minimise the possibility of electoral fraud.

The senior UNDP official in Haiti, Adama Guindo, reiterated the international community’s full support for the country during the polling process and in the post-electoral period.

More than 30 representatives of political parties, including a dozen women, late last month participated in a pre-electoral seminar, organized by Minustah, aimed at fostering a frank exchange of views.

Held in the capital, Port-au-Prince, just weeks before next month’s elections, the event served to enable candidates to discuss principles of local governance and other issues of mutual concern.

Over the course of the “animated” debate, participants aired their frustrations regarding the electoral process, Minustah said.

Charles Messier of the mission’s civil affairs office said the exchanges gave Minustah a better understanding of how to respond to the needs of officials who will be successful in the elections.

The seminar was one of a series being organized by Minustah in various parts of Haiti. Secretary-General of the Organization of American States (OAS) Jose Miguel Insulza recently expressed confidence in the electoral process in Haiti.

Insulza told a protocol meeting of the OAS Permanent Council, attended by Haiti’s interim Prime Minister Gerard Latortue, that the scheduled elections will lay the foundation for “democratic rebuilding” in Haiti.

He said that the OAS, working collaboratively with the United Nations, had helped to register over 3.5 million Haitians, an estimated 80 per cent of the eligible voting population.

“This exercise has resulted in a universe of potential voters that is considerably higher than that of the majority of our countries with a much broader democratic tradition,” he said.