General election today
Haiti draws to a close a long awaited general election when it goes to the polls today. Voters will be voting for 20 of the 30 members of the upper house or Senate and 118 members of the Chamber of Deputies. Normally one third of the Senate is renewed every two years but the 2012 elections were cancelled and so two thirds are being elected this year.
The general election will be followed by the presidential election which is due to take place on 25th October with a second round if required on 27th December.
There are 128 political parties involved in the election but only eight are putting up substantial lists. A total of 1,621 candidates are standing for the Chamber of Deputies and 232 candidates approved for the Senate battle.
The Provisional Electoral Council (CEP) has announced that there are 5,848,000 eligible voters who will vote at 13,725 polling stations in 1,508 voting centres in the 10 Departments between 6 a.m. and 4 p.m. local time. There is no ‘out of country’ voting.
Borders will be closed from 6 p.m. on Saturday 8th until 6 a.m. on Monday 10th August.
In the 2010/2011 elections the Alternative for Progress and Democracy (ALTENATIV) won five seats in the upper house and the Unity (INITE) also won five seats.
In the Chamber of Deputies Unity won 35 of the 99 seats and Alternative for Progress and Democracy won 11 seats. Ansanm Nou Fò won 10 seats with 13 other parties picking up the remaining seats.
Unity (INITE), the political vehicle of former President René Préval has morphed into Truth (Vérité) for this election and is the only party to put up a near full slate of candidates for the Chamber of Deputies.
Provisional results are expected on 19th August with official results due on 8th September.