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Haiti Schedules Presidential Runoff for January 24

  • VOA News

Presidential candidate Jovenel Moise, right, from the PHTK party, leaves after a press conference in Port-au-Prince, Haiti, Monday, Jan. 4, 2016.

Haiti's president has announced that a second round of voting in presidential and legislative elections will take place January 24.

Haiti's constitution calls for a new president to take office by February 7.

Wednesday's announcement resolved uncertainty over the vote after the runoffs originally scheduled for December 27 were postponed over allegations of fraud.

An independent panel announced on Sunday that it has concluded the original round of elections, held in October, were marred by irregularities.

The panel's report released Sunday bears out charges of fraud made by opposition presidential candidate Jude Celestin.

Problems included ballots where the votes were crossed out, miscounting, and discrepancies in voter identification.

The allegations led to street protests that forced officials to cancel the second round of voting last month.

The pro-government candidate Jovenel Moise led the first round, followed by Celestin, in a field of more than 50 candidates.

Haiti has been struggling for decades to put together the stable government and society vital for attracting badly needed investment.

Corruption, violence, and a devastating 2010 earthquake have thwarted Haiti's efforts to build a thriving nation.