Latin America & Caribbean

Why Haiti is going to the polls again

People walk in the street next to an electoral billboard of presidential candidate Jude Celestin in Port-au-Prince, Haiti, 17 November Image copyright Reuters
Image caption Jude Celestin (on poster) is running again after rejecting last year's result

Haiti, the poorest country in the Americas, is holding much-anticipated presidential and parliamentary polls on 20 November.

They come more than a year after a first attempt to hold the presidential ballot ended without a run-off round

Why so late?

Image copyright Reuters
Image caption Jovenel Moise came first in last year's election, which was annulled

The October 2015 presidential election was won by Jovenel Moise but opposition challenger Jude Celestin called foul and, after violent unrest, the ballot was annulled and a new election called.

It should have been held this 9 October but was postponed after Hurricane Matthew devastated parts of the country.

A second round is due in January if no candidate wins more than 50% of the vote.

Also on Sunday, Haitians will vote in the second round of parliamentary elections - the first was held in August of last year.

Who's standing?

Jocelerme Privert was named as interim president by parliament in February 2016 to fill the power vacuum after the incumbent, Michel Martelly, stepped down at the end of his term.

Image copyright Reuters
Image caption Maryse Narcisse is backed by Jean-Bertrand Aristide, Haiti's first democratically elected president

Standing this weekend are:

  • Banana exporter Jovenel Moise, from the centre-right Haitian Tet Kale Party, who has the support of Mr Martelly and won the first round last year with almost 32% of the vote
  • Jude Celestin, from the Alternative League for Haitian Progress and Emancipation, who came second last year with 25% and is backed by a coalition of parties
  • Jean-Charles Moise, who is running for the progressive Platform Pitit Dessalin, and came third in 2015 with 14% of the vote
  • Maryse Narcisse, from the left-wing Fanmi Lavalas party, who came fourth in last year's election and is backed by Jean-Bertrand Aristide, Haiti's first democratically elected president
  • Jean-Henri Ceant of the Remen Ayiti party and Edmonde Supplice Beauzile of the Fusion Party of Haitian Social Democrats

What challenges does the winner face?

The most pressing issue is the continuing humanitarian crisis which began with the 2010 earthquake. The United Nations has said it is struggling to assist Haiti because of insufficient foreign aid.

Image copyright AP
Image caption Haiti is much more vulnerable to natural disasters than other countries in the region

Almost seven years after the 2010 earthquake, about 1.5m victims still live in temporary shelter while cholera has caused nearly 10,000 deaths.

Massive deforestation has led to crops being washed away and many homes being destroyed by natural disasters.

Political instability and corruption have also contributed to rampant poverty.

Without effective government for decades, Haiti ranks 163rd out of the 188 countries on the UN Human Development Index.

Related Topics

More on this story