Presidential Runoff In Haiti Delayed Until February

A press conference with Haitian presidential candidates in November.
A press conference with Haitian presidential candidates in November.
A press conference with Haitian presidential candidates in November.

Today in Latin America

Top Story — The presidential runoff in Haiti will delayed at least until the end of February, as the country awaits of report from the Organization of American States (OAS), who is reviewing the controversial results from the first round of voting.

The two-candidate runoff is supposed to be held January 16, but now looks to be decided after the constitutional end of current President René Préval’s term.

“The second round is not possible until the end of February,” said Pierre Thibault Junior, the spokesman for the provisional electoral council, according to The Washington Post.

The final outcome of the November 28 election has remained in question after violent protests broke out after the preliminary results and verified cases of fraud and disenfranchisement surfaced.

“It is not surprising if you consider the chaos that followed the vote on November 28 and the widespread claims of irregularity in voting centers across the country [which] just put the whole process into doubt,” said Sebastian Walker, Al Jazeera’s correspondent in the capital, Port-Au-Prince.

“The question now is how this will all play out on the streets … if you think back to the early days of December when [the election] results were put into doubt and the widespread protests that erupted across Haiti,” he added.

The presidential and legislative elections were held amid a widespread cholera epidemic and as the country is still grappling with the effects of last January’s earthquake.

Headlines from the Western Hemisphere

North America

Caribbean

Central America

  • The death toll from the firebombing of a bus rose to six Tuesday when one of the injured died at a hospital in the Guatemalan capital.
  • Guatemala’s top security official says the Zetas drug gang from Mexico had set up an operations center in the border province of Alta Verapaz where the government declared a state of siege Dec. 19.
  • El Salvador seized contraband, such as cigarettes, clothing, medicines and dairy products, and pirated goods worth nearly $30 million in 2010, the National Civilian Police said.

Andes

  • Venezuela’s President Hugo Chavez said on Tuesday that his government would not increase the South American country’s sales tax as had been expected, thanks to high global oil prices.
  • A dispute over where to bury former Venezuelan president Carlos Andres Perez has been rekindled after some of his relatives denied agreeing to have the body transferred to Caracas.
  • Government financial leaders in Venezuela, seeking to reassure any anxiety after the latest currency devaluation, said Tuesday they guarantee there will not be shortages of basic goods.
  • A study has found up to three times the recommended level of mercury in Colombia’s Buenaventura Bay, a possible byproduct of illegal mining.
  • A top Colombian official Tuesday urged the U.S. Congress to move forward on long-delayed plans for a free trade agreement, but fresh allegations of human rights violations by Colombia’s military gave further fuel to lawmakers in Washington who are against a deal.
  • Bolivian President Evo Morales apologized for the burning of a Venezuelan flag during protests against an abrupt rise in fuel prices.

Southern Cone

Image: Media Hacker @ Flickr.

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