News / USA

Haitian President Calls for Calm

A Haitian throws a tire into fire during a protest following presidential elections in Port-au-Prince, 8 Dec 2010
A Haitian throws a tire into fire during a protest following presidential elections in Port-au-Prince, 8 Dec 2010

Haitian President Rene Preval has called for calm after protesters set fire to the headquarters of his ruling coalition, accusing it of rigging the preliminary results of the November 28 national election.

President Preval made the appeal in a radio address Wednesday.  Late Tuesday, the nation's provisional electoral council announced that former first lady Mirlande Manigat and ruling party candidate Jude Celestin had advanced to the second round of the country's presidential poll.  Third-place candidate Michel Martelly trailed by less than one percent of the vote.

Thousands of people, angered by the vote outcome, have been taking to the streets of the capital, Port-au-Prince, starting fires, throwing rocks and setting up barricades.  Witnesses said black smoke filled the air as flames tore through the government building.

International concern

U.S. air carrier American Airlines suspended flights to and from Haiti for Wednesday and Thursday because the company's employees have not been able to get to work.

A United Nations spokesman says Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon is concerned about the fraud allegations and is strongly committed to supporting free and fair election results that reflect the will of the Haitian people.

Supporters of Martelly, a popular entertainer, were the most vocal Wednesday.  They had expected him to at least make it to a runoff round.

Haitian police reportedly made no attempt to stop the protests.

Violence also erupted in the southern town of Les Cayes, where demonstrators set fire to government buildings.

The United States has expressed concern over the situation.  A statement from the U.S. embassy said the results are inconsistent with the published results of the National Observation Council, as well as domestic, U.S. and other international observers.

Haitian election officials said no candidate won more than 50 percent of the vote in the November 28 election.  The runoff has been scheduled for January 16.

Election day

The vote, held despite a cholera outbreak, was marred by violence and accusations of cheating.  Many voters were unable to find the correct polling station despite repeated attempts.

Several presidential candidates have already challenged the vote.  

Merchants and residents in Port-au-Prince had prepared for possible riots after the release of the vote tally.  On Sunday, protesters clashed with police, accusing  the outgoing government of trying to manipulate the vote in Celestin's favor.

Validation

International observers have said the elections should be considered valid, despite irregularities that generated the protests and fraud allegations.  The Haitian electoral council declared the balloting a success.

The impoverished Caribbean country is still struggling to recover from an earthquake in January that killed more than 200,000 people and left 1 million others homeless. The ongoing cholera outbreak, first reported in October, has killed more than 2,000 people.

Some information for this report was provided by AP, AFP and Reuters.

You May Like

China Investigates Former Powerful Security Chief

Former security chief and member of Politburo Standing Committee, Zhou Yongkang, under investigation for suspected 'serious disciplinary violation' More

India, US Look to Reset Ties During Kerry Visit

This week's talks will be first high level interaction between two countries since Prime Minister Narendra Modi took charge More

Video Young African Leadership Program Renamed to Honor Mandela

YALI program, launched by President Obama in 2010, aims to build skills in business, entrepreneurship, public management and civic leadership More

This forum has been closed.
Comments
     
There are no comments in this forum. Be first and add one

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Vietnamese Staging Chinese Product Boycott After Oil Rig Spati
X
Reasey Poch
July 28, 2014 7:18 PM
China recently pulled an oil rig from an area of the disputed South China Sea that Vietnam also claims. Despite the action, the incident has had a lingering effect on consumers in Vietnam. VOA's Reasey Poch reports from Hanoi on an effort to boycott Chinese products.
Video

Video Vietnamese Staging Chinese Product Boycott After Oil Rig Spat

China recently pulled an oil rig from an area of the disputed South China Sea that Vietnam also claims. Despite the action, the incident has had a lingering effect on consumers in Vietnam. VOA's Reasey Poch reports from Hanoi on an effort to boycott Chinese products.
Video

Video ESA Spacecraft to Land on a Comet

After a long flight through deep space, a European Space Agency probe is finally approaching its target -- a comet millions of kilometers away from earth. Scientists say the mission may lead to some startling discoveries about the origins of the water on earth. VOA’s George Putic has more.
Video

Video Young Africans Arrive in US for Leadership Program

President Barack Obama's Young African Leadership Initiative has brought hundreds of young Africans to the United States for a six-week program aimed at building their knowledge and skills in fields such as public administration and business. Out of the 50,000 young Africans who applied for the program, just one percent was accepted. VOA's Laurel Bowman caught up with some of those who made the cut and has this report.
Video

Video In Honduras, Amnesty Rumors Fuel US Migration Surges

False rumors in Central America are fueling the current surge of undocumented young people being apprehended at the U.S. border. The inaccurate claims suggest the U.S. will give amnesty to young migrants from the region. As VOA's Brian Padden reports from Honduras, these rumors trace back to President Obama's 2012 executive order to halt deportations for some young undocumented immigrants already living in the United States.
Video

Video Students in Business for Themselves

They're only high school students, but they are making accessories for shoes, fabricating backpacks and doing product photography - all through their own businesses. It's the result of a partnership between a non-profit organization that teaches entrepreneurship and their schools. VOA's Mike O'Sullivan and Deyane Moses met the budding entrepreneurs near Los Angeles.
Video

Video Astronauts Train in Underwater Lab

In the world’s only underwater laboratory, four U.S. astronauts train for a planned visit to an asteroid. The lab - called Aquarius- is located five kilometers off Key Largo, in southern Florida. Living in close quarters and making excursions only into the surrounding ocean, they try to simulate the daily routine of a crew that will someday travel to collect samples of a rock orbiting far away from earth. VOA’s George Putic has more.

AppleAndroid