Independent commission recommends fresh elections in Haiti


PORT-AU-PRINCE, Haiti – A commission that reviewed Haiti’s first round of presidential elections has recommended a fresh vote altogether, rather than move on with a second round, because it found major fraud and misconduct in its investigations.

The recommendation is made in the report of the five-member Independent Commission of Evaluation and Verification which was handed over to interim president Jocelerme Privert on Monday.

The panel examined 25 percent of the roughly 13,000 tally sheets from polling stations and found about 628,000 untraceable votes, during its month-long audit.

“The number of untraceable votes exceeded the legitimate votes acquired by politicians,” the Miami Herald quoted head of the commission, Pierre Francois Benoit, as saying.

“The conclusion we have reached is that the evil started not only within the polling stations, but a little higher in the distribution of [accreditation cards]…We noticed that there were some liberties taken with the law with the electoral process with an array of zombie votes.”

The Associated Press reported that electoral council chief Leopold Berlanger declined to comment on the verification commission’s findings, saying his panel would need until June 6 to review the recommendations and announce a revised election calendar.

A political agreement signed between the main political actors in the country on February 5, 2016 just before President Michel Martelly left office without a successor in place, set out a road map for the rapid conclusion of the electoral process that was initiated on August 9, 2015. A new president was supposed to have been sworn in by May 14.


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