People in Haiti vote today in elections intended to end political uncertainty and restore stability to the Caribbean nation. The country has been ruled by an interim administration backed-up by UN peacekeepers since former President Jean Bertrand Aristide was overthrown two yeas ago.
Today’s events are being closely watched by international monitors. “This will not resolve all Haiti’s problems it’s the first step towards normalisation,” said a representative of the Organisation of American States. “The process is complex”.
UN troops will be attempting to provide security at polling booths across the country which is suffering a wave of violent crime. Previous elections have been marred by bloodshed. The frontrunner in the presidential race is Rene Preval, a former holder of the post and one-time ally of Aristide.
Amid fears of a low turn-out both he and his main rival, Charles Baker, have appealed to people to vote in large numbers. The wealthy industrialist was some 20 points behind Preval in the last polls. A parliamentary election is also being held. Officials say it will be three days before the results from the two ballots are known.