17 March 2011 Haiti’s political stability and economic reconstruction depends in part on as large a turnout as possible during this weekend’s run-off round of presidential elections, the United Nations peacekeeping mission said today as it urged citizens to go to the polls en masse.
The mission, known as MINUSTAH, said in a press statement that by going to the polls in large numbers, Haitians would be able to “demonstrate their commitment to exercise their sovereign right to choose the leaders they trust.”
The former first lady Mirlande Manigat and the popular musician Michel Martelly are facing off in the presidential run-off round, nearly four months after the first round was held. Legislative elections are also being held this Sunday.
“There is no doubt that Haitians are today united to demand, through their vote, political stability and a democratic transition in Haiti and so that the reduction in poverty, reconstruction, revival of economic growth and social progress can advance as quickly as possible,” MINUSTAH stated.
The mission stressed that Haiti’s political stability and “anchoring… in a solid and enduring democracy” depend largely on the participation of as many voters as possible on Sunday.
Yesterday MINUSTAH voiced concern at the many acts of violence during the election campaign and urged all sides to abstain from threats, intimidation and harassment.
Meanwhile, while visiting Guatemala this week, Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon told regional leaders that recovery and reconstruction efforts in Haiti – little more than a year after an earthquake flattened much of the capital, Port-au-Prince, and killed more than 200,000 people – are gathering momentum and the recent cholera epidemic is being brought under control.
“I also expressed the hope and expectation that the run-off presidential and legislative elections [in Haiti] will proceed smoothly in a credible, objective and democratic way,” Mr. Ban later told reporters. “We all want to assist in reconstruction and development in Haiti. For that, the country needs a stable and effective government.”
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