Governing party candidate wins Haitian first round, headed to runoff

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Businessman Jovenel Moise finished first in Haiti’s presidential election but fell short of a first-round victory, election authorities announced late Thursday in Port-au-Prince.

Moise, the candidate of outgoing President Michel Martelly’s PHTK party, will face LAPEH party candidate Jude Celestin in a December 27 runoff.

The October 25 first round saw Moise at 33 per cent, followed by 25 per cent for Celestin, who was narrowly denied a spot in the 2011 runoff, when he was the candidate of LAPEH, the party of then-president Rene Preval.

Populist former senator Moise Jean-Charles was third at 14 per cent, with Maryse Narcisse, allied with ex-president Jean-Bertrand Aristide, at 7 per cent.

Several candidates including Celestin had complained about election irregularities prior to the announcement of the first-round results.

The elections last month saw more than 70 people arrested amid violence and suspected electoral fraud.

In Haiti, which shares the island of Hispaniola with the Dominican Republic, more than 58 per cent of the 10 million people live in poverty. The country is still suffering the consequences of an earthquake that killed more than 200,000 people in January 2010.

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