Haiti’s Provisional Electoral Council (CEP) announced yesterday that large voter turnout and a “high incidence of fraud and irregularities” during the March 20 presidential runoff will delay the announcement of preliminary results. Though the results were scheduled for release tomorrow, presidential hopefuls Mirlande Manigat and Michel Martelly will have to wait until April 4 for the first vote tallies.
Compared to the first round of voting on November 28, 2010, which was marred by widespread fraud, low voter turn out and three days of violent protests, international monitors had praised the second round for being better organized. The violence following the first round broke out when it was announced that Martelly, a kompa star that is a favorite among Haiti’s poor, was left off the runoff ballot. Not until the Organization of American States reviewed the voting results was Martelly placed back on the ballot over then-second place holder Jude Celestin—the candidate of current president Réne Préval’s party.
Though the delay affects the release of preliminary results, final results remain on schedule to be released on April 16. The next president of Haiti, who will assume power this May, will face the daunting task of procuring billions of dollars in promised foreign aid and rebuild a weakened public sector in a country currently dominated by nongovernmental organizations.