PORT-AU-PRINCE – Three Haitian presidential candidates said on Tuesday they would not accept the victory of Jovenel Moise, who won 55.67 percent of the vote in the Nov. 20 election.
Only 21 percent of eligible voters cast ballots.
The figures released Monday by Haiti’s Provisional Electoral Council, or CEP, show the candidate of the ruling PHTK with a massive lead over main challenger Jude Celestin, who got 19.52 percent.
“We do not recognize the preliminary results. We will contest them in the courts and we will also mobilize to defend our votes,” Celestin said, describing the CEP’s numbers as “prefabricated.”
The third- and fourth-place finishers likewise refused to concede.
“We know that the businessmen want Jovenel, but it’s the people who should decide. We will fight with all our strength,” said Moise Jean-Charles, with 11.04 percent of the vote.
Marysse Narcisse, the candidate of ousted President Jean-Bertrand Aristide’s Lavalas party, blasted the outcome as “an electoral coup” and called for a “general mobilization to defeat these gentlemen who want to exclude the majority.”
Jovenel Moise, meanwhile, urged his compatriots “to work together for a better Haiti.”
Incumbent Michel Martelly picked the banana exporter as the PHTK candidate in the October 2015 presidential election. Moise prevailed in that contest, but the results were ultimately thrown out due to serious irregularities.
A week after Martelly’s term officially ended in early February, Jocelerme Privert was named interim head of state pending a fresh vote.
That vote had been scheduled for Oct. 9, but was postponed because of the impact of Hurricane Matthew, which left 573 people dead, forced 175,000 from their homes and led to food shortages that have affected around 800,000 residents of the poorest nation in the Western Hemisphere.
If Moise’s advantage in the preliminary results holds out, there would be no need for a second round of voting.
The definitive election totals will not be available for several weeks.