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Haiti Election Chief Says Runoff Can't Be Held By Jan. 17

  • Associated Press

Haiti's President Michel Martelly speaks during an interview at the National Palace in Port-au-Prince, Haiti, Monday, Dec. 21, 2015.

Haiti's President Michel Martelly speaks during an interview at the National Palace in Port-au-Prince, Haiti, Monday, Dec. 21, 2015.

Haiti's elections chief says it will be "impossible" to hold a presidential and legislative runoff in time for a democratic transfer of power by the constitutional deadline.

Outgoing President Michel Martelly announced last week that Haiti's Provisional Electoral Council was warning that the runoff must be held by Jan. 17 to fulfill the constitutional mandate of inaugurating a new president Feb. 7.

But in a Monday letter to Martelly, Council President Pierre-Louis Opont said they would need more time. He says 12 days of preparation "will not be sufficient to complete the process."

Martelly and council officials were to meet Tuesday.

It remains unclear if there could be a political compromise to ease Haiti's electoral tensions. Another runoff delay could mean that a transitional government may have to be formed.

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