PORT-AU-PRINCE — Legislative elections will be reheld across a large chunk of Haiti, where recent polling turned deadly and voter turnout reached only 18 percent, electoral authorities said Thursday.
National Police forces have been mobilized, amid concern that the Provisional Electoral Council's announcement could trigger another round of violence, and forces from the MINUSTAH mission of the United Nations are at the ready.
But with no official results immediately available, there were no major incidents reported in Port-au-Prince and other major cities in the country.
The CEP vowed justice would be taken against the perpetrators of crime and sporadic violence that killed two people and forced dozens of voting centres to close during the long-delayed August 9 elections, the first voting since 2011 in the poorest country in the Americas.
CEP officials said first-round polling results were available on the CEP website, but it was down after the announcement.
The electoral officials left the press conference under police escort, without announcing any results.
A second-round vote has long been scheduled for October 25.
A total of 16 candidates have already been disqualified over their suspected involvement in the crime and violence that marred the election.
In the meantime, the first-round election will be redone across 25 of Haiti's 119 constituencies where less than 70 percent of ballots were sent back to the vote counting centre in Port-au-Prince.
In the country's most populous department, Ouest – which includes the capital city – turnout reached only 10 percent. Across all municipalities, voter turnout never exceeded 50 percent, according to the CEP.
The entire Chamber of Deputies and two thirds of the Senate were up for vote in the long overdue elections, the first in Haiti since President Michel Martelly took power in 2011.
Haiti suffers from chronic instability and continues to struggle to recover from a devastating 2010 earthquake that killed more than 250,000 people and crippled the nation's infrastructure.
Its parliament was dissolved on January 13, 2015 after lawmakers' terms were not extended, and the legislative chambers have remained empty for months.
More than 1,800 candidates from 128 registered parties were vying for 139 posts in the two houses.
The polling marked the first of three election days before the end of the year. — AFP