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Low turnout marks final stage in Haiti elections

A final round of elections has been held in Haiti with President-elect Jovenel Moise hoping to extend his party's parliamentary majority. Moise has had to deny allegations of money laundering.

The Caribbean country's voters turned out on Sunday to decide on eight legislative runoffs and to choose 5,500 district authorities in local elections.

President-elect Jovenel Moise's political faction and its allies were hoping to increase their parliamentary majority via the eight runoff votes which were held on Sunday.

Turnout was low on Sunday with a number of polling stations reporting only a trickle of voters coming to cast their ballots.

A long process

The round of voting concluded a process started in October 2015 but delayed by allegations of fraud.  There were no major incidents reported in the November 2016 ballots which saw businessman Jovenel Moise declared the winner with 55.6 percent of the vote. Turnout for that poll was also low, at a reported 21 percent.

Moise ran for the Tet Kale party of former president Michel Martelly, who ended his term without an elected successor.

Haiti's Central Financial Intelligence Unit has prepared a 68-page report alleging Moise may have laundered millions of dollars through at least one bank.  Judge Brédy Fabien has begun hearing testimony "that it is possible Jovenel Moïse manipulated funds that have nothing to do with his businesses." Moise denies the charges.

The new president is due to be sworn in on February 7 and will take over from interim president Jocelerme Privert who came to power in 2016.

jm/jr (AFP, EFE)

 

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