Préval hints at staying in office

PORT-AU-PRINCE, Haiti: René Préval has hinted he may seek to remain Haiti’s president until the controversy surrounding the disputed election results is resolved.

Préval says that it would not be wise to replace him with a provisional government if there is no solution before his mandate comes to an end on February 7. His comment hints that he may seek an emergency three-month extension, which was suggested by his administration earlier this year in the event that the election process in the earthquake-ravaged country was delayed.

“It would not be good for the country’s stability and reconstruction to enter a transitional government,” said Préval. “My goal as president has been that when I leave, I am replaced by an elected president and an elected parliament is in place.”

Préval has already served a maximum two terms in office.

Preliminary results from the first round of the November 28 presidential elections to choose his successor put former first lady Mirlande Manigat in the lead with 31 per cent of the vote, followed by Jude Celestin, of the ruling party, with 22 per cent.

However, there have been allegations of fraud and Préval has been accused of rigging the results, especially since popular musician Michel ‘Sweet Micky’ Martelly – who was said to be a frontrunner – came third, according to the preliminary results.

Protests and riots that left five people dead and now a probe by the Organization of American States (OAS) have delayed the release of the final results of the first round.

They were supposed to have been released last week and followed by a runoff vote between the two top candidates in January.

However, officials say the poll results could be delayed for weeks.


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