Results of run-off elections delayed

PORT-AU-PRINCE, Haiti: Haitian officials have delayed the publication of a handful of fraud-tainted results from run-off legislative elections just hours before the announced winners were due to take office.

The Provisional Electoral Council said in a statement on Monday that it was delaying the certification of 19 legislative results of the March 20 polls out of concern for transparency and the best interest of the nation.

The United Nations and major donor nations for the earthquake-hit country had voiced concern about fraud after a number of races were overturned, almost all in favour of President René Préval’s ruling Unity party.

President-elect Michel Martelly has called for an independent probe and urged the international community not to recognize the results.

Legislative results last Thursday showed that the Unity party expanded its presence in the Chamber of Deputies, taking 46 of the 99 positions. It also gained an absolute majority in the upper Senate with 17 of the 30 seats.

The results were greeted by outbreaks of violence in parts of Haiti that left at least one person dead.

Martelly’s Reypons Peysan party won only three parliamentary seats, and to enact the reforms Haiti needs he will have to forge deals with Unity.

The 50-year-old former singer and carnival entertainer has urged opponents to work with him to rebuild the earthquake-hit Caribbean nation.

He is yet to make an official announcement but observers believe he may ask Unity’s Jean-Max Bellerive – a respected figure well-known to the international community – to stay on as prime minister and form a government.

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