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Wednesday 1st
posted by Morning Star in World

HAITIAN election authorities started yesterday considering calls to rerun last year’s presidential poll after a special commission unearthed hordes of “zombie votes.”

Provisional Electoral Council (CEP) president Leopold Berlanger declined to comment on the findings of Pierre Francois Benoit’s special verification commission.

But he said the CEP would need until Monday to examine the report and announce a new election calendar.

Mr Benoit (pictured) said his commission, which audited 25 per cent of some 13,000 tally sheets from polling stations, had no choice but to recommend new elections, cancelling a thrice-postponed presidential run-off vote.

“After digging into it, we started seeing a pattern where a lot of votes could not be traced to a voter or to a group of voters. I call them ‘zombie votes’,” he said.

This may be the result of the 900,000 party political monitors — allowed to enter and vote at any polling station — who were heavily criticised by independent observers.

The official tally gave first place to Jovenel Moise, the Tet Kale party candidate who was hand-picked by previous president Michel Martelly.

But second-place candidate Jude Celestin alleged “massive fraud” and his supporters took to the streets in riotous protest. Mr Celestin had no comment about Monday’s report.

The verification commission was appointed by interim president Jocelerme Privert, a former minister under Betrand Aristide.

Mr Privert’s appointment in February was only planned to last until May 14, but a new government is now unlikely to be formed until early next year.