Latin America & Caribbean

Haiti election: Thousands protest over missed deadline

Demonstrators raising hands in the air, and carrying placards of the winner their candidate, Jovenel Moise Image copyright AFP
Image caption Moise supporters demonstrated near the headquarters of the Provisional Electoral Council in Port-au-Prince

Thousands of Haitians have protested against a delay in the run-off round of a presidential election that should have been held on Sunday.

The deadline was missed after allegations of fraud during the first round in October of last year.

Interim President Jocelerme Privert said the run-off might not happen now until this October.

But supporters of the front-runner, Jovenel Moise, are demanding a run-off sooner.

Protesters took to the streets of the capital, Port-au-Prince, asking for a chance to cast their votes.

They were carrying placards supporting the banana exporter, who won the first round of the elections.

Demonstrator Sabrina Demosthil said the marchers were "calling for the run-off to be held as quickly as possible", the Associated Press news agency reports.

The April 24 deadline had been widely regarded as unrealistic.

Image copyright Reuters
Image caption National police officers stood guard to prevent the kind of violence that has marred previous anti-government demonstrations

Haiti has been in political turmoil since the first round, in which Mr Moise came first but fell short of an overall majority, was disputed by losing candidates.

Four run-off deadlines have been missed so far, some of them leading to violent unrest throughout the country.

The authorities have set up a team to evaluate the allegations of fraud in the first round.

Mr Privert, who was chosen as interim president in February to fill a power vacuum after incumbent President Michel Martelly stepped down, previously said the vote would be held at the end of May.

But on Sunday he suggested the country should choose its next president at the same time as an October 30 deadline for a Senate election.

"Does the country have the financial means to organise two elections?" he asked when questioned about the likely date for the vote.

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