Elections Haiti-style

During the 3 hour ride back from
PAP, I was filling Jack (from Canada) in on all that’s happened since
he left in October.  One big thing was that the elections that
were to be held in November were finally done on February 7,
2006.  These elections were for the office of President and to
re-establish the parliament (legislature) that wasn’t replaced in 2004
when their terms expired.  There were over 30 people running for
president alone!  A lot of preparation had gone into registering
people, preparing poling sites, conducting public awareness campaigns
so that there would be a good turn-out and that the results would be
valid and respected here and throughout the world.

Election day here in FDN was
pretty upbeat.  Businesses were closed and the poling places were
to open as early as 7 am.  Our Salvation Army school across the
street from us was one of the poling places.  Public
transportation had been banned so there were lots of bicycles lined up
and others had walked great distances in order to vote. 

(The Salvation Army Primary School in Fond-des-Negres – one of the poling places)

Each
candidate (party) was assigned a number and their pictures were
displayed so that those who had trouble reading would be able to make
their selection.

(two of the clinic doctors showing their marked thumbs, proving they have voted)

In spite of some of the
difficulties (lack of transportation, long lines, confusion on the
poling place assignments, late openings of some poles in PAP), there
were no reports of violence at the poles and only a few scuffles due to
people growing impatient after waiting over an hour for the site to
open.  The turn out was tremendous.  After a delay in getting
the results finalized and verified, on Feb. 15th at midnight, Réne Preval was declared the winner with 51% of the vote.

We
will go through this again on April 21st as they hold the run-off
elections for the legislature.  After they have taken up their
posts, then we will have the inauguration of the president.  Pray
for Haiti that there will be a peaceful transition and that President
Preval will
be able to bring together all levels of Haitian society so
that we all will begin to prosper and live in harmony one with another.

 

 

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