Port-au-Prince, Haiti: Haiti’s electoral council Tuesday, March 21, said two candidates had been victorious in the first round of balloting on February 7, even as several contenders accused electoral authorities of being biased.
President of the Electoral Council Max Mathurin said the final results for the first round of the legislative race had been released after the Council had examined all the claims made by the protesting candidates.
The two winners were running for the lower Chamber of Parliament while no candidate for the Senate won in the first round. A run-off is set for April 21 .
Several candidates have accused electoral officials of favoring candidates that share the same political ideology, a claim denied by the authorities.
Fritz Gerald Rosefort, a candidate for the lower chamber said he placed second in his constituency, which qualified him to take part in the run-off, according to figures released by the Council earlier.
But he said he had now been told he placed third. Only the first two place candidates could compete in the run-off, according to electoral guidelines.
“The Electoral Council decided I came in third place, while the same Council according to its own figures said I was second,” said Rosefort, adding that the authorities failed to provide any explanation for the new decision.
Another candidate, Fegens Teus, from a small island near the capital Port-au-Prince, called La Gonave, said his competitor should have gone to a run-off because he did not collect the majority of 50 percent plus one of the valid votes from the first round.
Election authorities, however, said the protesting candidates could not provide any documented evidence that they had won the ballot instead of those who have been proclaimed or that they had been the victims of any scheming.
“If a candidate comes and says the one we have proclaimed is not truly the winner, he has to prove it,” said Pierre-Richard Duchemin, of the nine-member Electoral Council.
Rene Preval was declared winner of Haiti’s first presidential and legislative elections since the controversial removal from office of President Jean Bertrand Aristide in February 2004.
Aristide, who now resides in exile in South Africa, has accused France and the United States of engineering his removal, a claim denied by Washington.