Haiti’s electoral council is launching an investigation after burned ballot papers were found smouldering on a rubbish dump. Many of the votes were cast a week ago for the presidential hopeful Rene Preval.
His supporters suspect the results of the contest have been manipulated to stop him winning outright. Preval has claimed victory in the country’s election, despite not yet having enough votes to avoid a second round. With tensions running high, Preval has called for peaceful demonstrations.
“We are sure that there was massive fraud or gross errors that sullied the electoral process,” he said.
This is the first ballot held in the troubled republic since former President Jean-Bertrand Aristide was ousted during a bloody coup two years ago. The peaceful atmosphere following last Tuesday’s vote quickly unravelled as the results began to come in. At least one protester died in the unrest.
The UN has called for an end to the violent protests, while the tour of duty of the 9,500 strong peacekeeping force has been extended. Latest results show Preval has just under 49 percent of the vote. He needs at least 50 percent to avoid a second round in March.