Electoral council sets new dates for elections in Haiti

Friday, November 25, 2005

On Friday the electoral council decided push back the election dates for Haiti's first presidential election since the overthrow of President Aristide in 2004. New dates have been set for January 8, 2006 for the first round of the presidential and legislative elections, following by a second (runoff) round on February 15. Municipal elections have been delayed to March 6, 2006.

According to the council they need more time to organize the election process. They say they would not be able to set up polling stations by the December 27 date set by Prime Minister Latortue a few days ago. They need time to organize poll workers who do not have experience. One council member said that "for practical reasons, it was inevitable that we would miss the deadline," but that they would not miss the January 8 deadline currently set. They need time to print ballots, train poll workers, and distribute voter identification cards, an effort to fight potential voter fraud.

The Haitian constitution mandates a handover of power from one government to the next on February 7, but that will not be possible as elections will still be in progress. This is the 4th time the dates have been rescheduled.