Friday, February 4, 2011

Haiti announces run-off candidates

Election ballots lay on the street near a burning tire in Grande Riu Du Nord village, Haiti.
Haiti's election commission has named former First Lady Mirlande Manigat and singer Michel 'Sweet Micky' Martelly as candidates in a runoff vote for presidency.

In a television broadcast early Thursday, Haiti's Electoral Council spokesman Richard Dumel said the two would continue to the second round of the elections.

The two candidates will now face off in the second round of presidential voting scheduled for March 20.

The announcement, which was months overdue, comes as a breakthrough as the country was by an electoral impasse since November 28 when Haitians went to the polls.

A run-off election had been originally scheduled for January 16, but was postponed over a row on who should be running it.

Martelly and the former First Lady called for the first round of election to be annulled due to alleged fraud. In total, 12 of the 19 presidential candidates considered the first round results fraudulent.

According to December's first round results, Manigat took first place with 31 percent, while the ruling party's candidate, Jude Celestin, won 22 percent of the votes.

However, a leaked draft report drawn by the Organization of American States (OAS) suggested that Celestin should step aside instead of moving on to a runoff.

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