UN peacekeeping mission in Haiti welcomes new dates for elections

28 November 2005 –

The United Nations peacekeeping mission in Haiti has welcomed the official new dates set by the Caribbean country’s Provisional Electoral Council (CEP) for elections, saying informal proposals for previous dates had failed to take into account the technical requirements.

The Council has set 8 January for presidential and legislative elections and 15 February for run-off elections. The Transitional Government had previously set 27 December for the elections and 7 February for the inauguration of the newly elected President.

The new dates have come “after a thorough analysis – by the CEP and its international partners – of all the elements involved in the electoral process, from the distribution of the electoral cards to the security for the election dates,” the UN Stabilization Mission in Haiti (MINUSTAH) said over the weekend.

“It is true that these dates for the first and second round may pose difficulty for the transfer of power to take place on 7 February. However, a delay of 10 days should not be seen as an obstacle to the opening of a new democratic phase in the country’s history.”

Preparations for a free, fair, open and democratic electoral process are set and efforts are being made to make sure that the vote takes place in a peaceful context, it said.

MINUSTAH previously said that up to last Wednesday 48 senior trainers had been deployed in the provinces and would train 1,325 electoral agents and 809 polling station supervisors once they had been identified. The electoral agents, in turn, would train the 37,000 polling station personnel.

The distribution of electoral cards began last Tuesday, MINUSTAH said.

The Special Representative of the Secretary General in Haiti, Ambassador Juan Gabriel Valdes, said he was encouraged that the population, by registering to vote in such large numbers, proved once again a firm desire to live in a democratic and peaceful country.

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