Haiti On Edge Amid Disputed Election Results A political standoff continues in Haiti after the Nov. 28 presidential elections. Two of the top three vote-getters are refusing to participate in the recount, citing "massive fraud" at the polls. After riots, a tense calm has settled on Port-au-Prince as officials try to arrange a runoff.
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Haiti On Edge Amid Disputed Election Results

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Haiti On Edge Amid Disputed Election Results

Haiti On Edge Amid Disputed Election Results

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DON GONYEA, Host:

Unidentified Woman: (Foreign language spoken)

(SOUNDBITE OF MUSIC)

JASON BEAUBIEN: The head of the independent media company Radio Metropole in Port-au-Prince, Richard Widmaier, quickly sums up the state of the Haitian presidential selection process.

RICHARD WIDMAIER: Stuck. We are stuck. We are at an impasse, if I might use this word.

BEAUBIEN: Then when the results were finally released, supporters of Michel Martelly barricaded the streets of the capital for three days straight. Martelly came in third in the official results, just behind Celestin, and thus was eliminated from the second round of the race.

WIDMAIER: Six months ago, nobody ever thought Martelly would have any importance within the electoral process itself.

BEAUBIEN: Yesterday, Martelly proposed that instead of a runoff on January 16th, as currently mandated by law, Haiti should just redo the entire election. But Martelly says first, the Electoral Council must be replaced.

MICHEL MARTELLY: (Creole spoken)

BEAUBIEN: So far, President Rene Preval has stood by his election officials and hasn't made any indications that he'll appoint any new ones.

(SOUNDBITE OF CROWD CHATTER)

BEAUBIEN: Unidentified Group: (Singing in foreign language)

BEAUBIEN: This Sunday, during mass at the Catholic Christ the King Church, Pastor Richard Gerard denounced the violent demonstrations. Preaching in the shell of a grand church that was destroyed in the January earthquake, Father Gerard said Jesus never rioted in the streets.

RICHARD GERARD: (Through translator) How can we say that we are childrens of God, that we have been created in his image, while acting like animals of the forest?

BEAUBIEN: In Haiti, allegations of fraud and criticism of the balloting can be heard across the social spectrum, from vendors in the streets, all the way up to top business leaders.

REGINALD BOULOS: You know, the Haitian people, that's all they have as their weapon. They don't have economic power. They don't have social power. They have their ballot.

BEAUBIEN: Reginald Boulos is the head of the Haitian Chamber of Commerce. Boulos says exit polls done by the chamber clearly showed that Martelly, rather than the ruling party's Celestin, should have made it into the runoff. Boulos says he's saddened that in the aftermath of the earthquake, Haiti is now also dealing with this political crisis.

BOULOS: We were expecting that everybody, including our government, would remember that 300,000 people died 10 months ago, would remember that one million people are still living under tents, and not do what we are seeing right again, trying to steal elections and not letting the people choose who they want as their leaders for the next five years.

BEAUBIEN: Jason Beaubien, NPR News, Port-au-Prince.

(SOUNDBITE OF MUSIC)

GONYEA: This is MORNING EDITION, from NPR News.

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