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Electoral workers count ballots by candlelight in Haiti last night.
Electoral workers count ballots by candlelight in Haiti last night.
Image: AP Photo/Ramon Espinosa

Counting underway after second round presidential election in Haiti

Police say two people were shot dead in separate political clashes, but otherwise voting passed off peacefully yesterday.
Mar 21st 2011, 9:37 AM 451 0

COUNTING IS UNDERWAY IN HAITI where yesterday’s second round of the presidential election was mostly peaceful, despite two incidents in which people from rival political groups were shot dead.

Voters were asked to choose between 70-year-old former first lady and senator Mirlande Manigat and pop star Michel ‘Micky’ Martelly, 50, known for his crude on-stage antics.

The race between the two centre-right candidates is expected to be close, but preliminary results won’t be out until the 31 March. People also voted for the legislature.

Haiti’s electoral council said that both candidates had pledged not to hold rallies or claim victory until after the first results are declared, Al Jazeera reports.

People queued in some places for hours for the opportunity to vote in what are believed to be the first really free elections for many voters. However, the day did not pass completely without incident and the BBC reports that Haitian police confirmed two people were shot dead in separate incidents yesterday after clashes between rival political groups.

Musician Wyclef Jean was shot and slightly injured in the hand on Saturday night. He is in Haiti to support Martelly’s presidential bid, after failing to secure his own place among the candidates of the election.

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The UN peacekeeping force in Haiti and local police guarded voting centres.

Polls stayed open in some areas for an hour later than scheduled to compensate for initial delays.

Haiti Libre reports that the electoral council said there had been a delay in distributing election materials. The news site had earlier reported that a group of people had forced voters to poll for their candidate in Saint Louis du Sud, in the south-west.

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Susan Ryan

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