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Haiti vote to go ahead despite epidemic

Haiti vote to go ahead despite epidemic
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Despite disease and the threat of violence, the UN says Haiti’s electoral show must go on.

Sunday’s presidential and legislative elections in Haiti are set to go ahead as planned even with the country in the grip of a cholera epidemic.

The head of the UN mission in the country insists the vote is needed now more than ever.

Edmond Mulet, head of the United Nations Stabilisation Mission in Haiti (MINUSTAH) told a press conference:

“We all know that this epidemic is going to get worse; we have not reached the peak yet, this is only the beginning of this crisis and if we don’t have elections now, when will these elections happen? When the epidemic is even worse than now?”

Leading the opinion polls in the presidential race is former first lady Mirlande Manigat, while another of the favourites is Jude Celestin, who enjoys the backing of outgoing president Rene Preval.

As well as the outbreak of cholera, which has killed more than 1,500 people, Haiti has also witnessed rioting against the UN presence, blamed by some for the epidemic.

Pre-election tension has also been fuelled by accusations of vote-rigging.

These will be the first elections in Haiti since the country was devastated by an earthquake in January which claimed around a quarter of a million lives.