Haiti’s Government Will Honor Election Results, UN Envoy Says

Haiti’s government will honor the results of the disputed Nov. 28 election, the nation’s ambassador to the United Nations said after ruling party presidential candidate Jude Celestin said he may have lost.

“We are moving forward in terms of a democratic transition of power,” Ambassador Leo Merores said at a UN meeting on Haiti in New York. “The government is firm in its resolve to transition power on Feb. 7 to the newly elected president.”

Results in the election, Haiti’s first since January’s earthquake, aren’t expected until at least Dec. 7. About 4.5 million people were eligible to cast ballots for a new leader to replace President Rene Preval, along with 11 of 30 senators and all 99 parliament deputies.

The election was marred by allegations of fraud and incidents of violence that resulted in a call by 12 of 18 presidential candidates for the vote to be annulled. Celestin, who didn’t support that demand, said on Nov. 30 that he may have lost, Agence France-Presse reported.

Celestin’s opponents said Preval attempted to fraudulently tip the election to his ruling Unity Party.

“The irregularities now seem more serious than we initially thought,” UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon said. “Whatever the complaints or reservations about the process, I urge all political actors to refrain from violence and to start discussions immediately to find a Haitian solution to these problems before a serious crisis develops.”

Problems With Voting

Other ambassadors, including those from Brazil and France, said that while there were problems with the voting, the results should stand. The reported irregularities “do not warrant invalidation,” Brazil’s Ambassador Maria Viotti said.

Failure to honor the results might compel the UN and its international partners to leave Haiti, Edmond Mulet, head of the UN peacekeeping mission said, AFP reported. “The international community will pull out of Haiti and the country will not benefit from international support and resources if the people’s decision is not respected,” Mulet said, according to AFP.

Ban appealed for money to combat Haiti’s cholera epidemic, which he said has infected 81,000 people and killed more than 1,800. He said up to 650,000 may be infected over the next six months.

Only 20 percent of the UN’s request for $164 million in aid to prevent and treat cholera has been met, Ban said.

“I ask you urgently to help meet the appeal in full,” Ban said, adding that the figures on the numbers of infections and deaths may be “up to twice as high.”

Haiti, the poorest country in the Western Hemisphere, is still recovering from the Jan. 12 earthquake that killed 300,000 people and left 1.3 million in camps.

To contact the reporter on this story: Bill Varner at the United Nations at wvarner@bloomberg.net

To contact the editor responsible for this story: Mark Silva in Washington at msilva34@bloomberg.net

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