First-Round Presidential Results Spark Outrage, Protests

The CEP announced the release of preliminary results for the  October 25 presidential election today. At a 4pm press conference held at the electoral council's headquarters, CEP officials announced that the top two finishers were PHTK's Jovenel Moise (32.81%) and LAPEH's Jude Celestin (25.27%). Moise Jean-Charles of Pitit Dessalines finished third (14.27%) and Fanmi Lavalas' Maryse Narcisse came in fourth (7.05%).

Jovenel Moise, handpicked by President Michel Martelly as his political successor, welcomed the announcement at a press conference held just hours after the CEP's. "PHTK celebrates this first victory, which is proof that the people have understood our message of development." Moise's campaign made his succesful Agritrans business, which grows and exports bananas from a number of plantations in the North of the country, an integral part of his political image, dubbing the PHTK candidate "Neg Banann Nan" ("The Banana Man").

The other contenders, meanwhile, reacted with outrage and disbelief to the preliminary results. Jean-Hector Anacasis, coordinator of Celestin's LAPEH party, stated on radio that the results were the product of fraud and declared his party's intention to contest them.

Moise Jean-Charles, meanwhile, called his supporters out into the streets. "We will stay mobilized until the people's vote is respected," Jean-Charles stated on Twitter. Jean-Henry Céant, Eric Jean-Baptise, Mario Andresol and other candidates added their voices to the chorus of recriminations.

Demonstrations and burning tires barricades have already begun around Port-au-Prince, and one Pitit Dessalines protestor was reportedly killed outside the party's headquarters in Delmas 33.

According to the preliminary results, 1,538,393 valid votes were cast in the presidential contest.
There were also 120,066 invalid votes and 22,238 votes for no candidate, making "no candidate" the 8th place finisher in the presidential field. 

Turnout on October 25 was 26.4%, a participation rate similar to that of the 2010, when elections were held after an earthquake and amid cholera outbreak. This level of turnout is extremely low for  Haiti; turnout in previous presidential elections was much higher, reaching 59.2% in 2006, 78.3.% in 2000, and 50.2% in 1990. Such a low turnout means that only 8.7% of registered voters cast a ballot for Jovenel Moise and only 6.7% for Jude Celestin, while the overwhelming majority did not vote.

The results apparently were not endorsed by all members of the CEP. Jacceus Joseph, the human rights sector's representative on the council, reportedly did not sign his name on the published results. The CEP still has yet to release results for the legislative and municipal elections.

Top 15 finishers:

Jovenel Moise (PHTK) : 32.81% (511 992 Votes)

Jude Celestin (LAPEH): 25.27% (394 390 Votes)

Jean Charles Moise (Pitit Dessalines): 14.27% (222 646 Votes)

Maryse Narcisse (Fanmi Lavalas) : 7.05% (110 049 Votes)

Eric Jean Baptiste (MAS) : 3.63% (56 671 Votes)

Jean Henry Ceant (Renmen Ayiti) : 2.50% (39 005 Votes)

Sauveur Pierre Etienne (OPL) : 1.94% (30 227 Votes)

Steven Irvenson Benoit (Konviksyon) : 1.14% (17 851 Votes)

Steeve Khawly (Bouclier) :  1.08% (16 791 Votes)

Samuel Madistin (MOPOD) : 0.88% (13 656 Votes)

Jean Chavannes Jeune (CANAAN) :  0.67% (10 482 Votes)

Maxo Joseph (RANDEVOUS) : 0.57% (8 943 Votes)

Jean Clarens Renois (UNIR-AYITI) : 0.57% (8 844 Votes)

Chavannes Jean Baptiste (KontraPep la) : 0.48% (7 520 Votes)

Mario Andresol (Independant) : 0.46% (7 251 Votes)

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