Presidential elections in Haiti have been validated despite widespread protests of vote-rigging. Twelve of the 18 candidates withdrew before voting began, accusing incumbent Rene Preval's party of steering the election.
Thousands rallied against the 'fraudulent' vote
Thousands took to the streets in Haiti on Sunday calling for the cancellation of pivotal elections aimed at restoring order to the country.
The vote, which has been validated by Haiti's Provisional Election Council (CEP), was boycotted by a majority of candidates before even getting underway at 1,500 polling stations across the country.
CEP President Gaillot Dorsainvil hailed the vote a "success," despite concerns from the international community regarding widespread allegations of fraud and irregularities.
United Nations officials expressed "deep concern at numerous incidents" that marred the elections and resulted in the deaths of two demonstrators on Sunday.
"The United Nations and the international community expressed their deep concern at the numerous incidents that marred the elections," the UN mission in Haiti said in a statement.
Vote should be rejected: US monitoring group
US monitoring group, Center for Economic and Policy Research (CEPR), said late on Sunday that the vote should be rejected by the international community.
"From the banning of the country's most popular party from the ballot to election day irregularities including numerous reports of ballot stuffing and the disenfranchisement of numerous eligible voters, these elections were an obvious farce from start to finish," Mark Weisbrot, the CEPR's co-director said in a statement.
12 of 18 candidates withdrew before voting began
"The international community should reject these elections and affirm support for democratic institutions in Haiti," he added.
The Haitian government was pushed by the international community to go through with the elections despite calls for postponement in the wake of chaos that followed a January earthquake that killed over 230,000 people.
Eighteen candidates were hoping to succeed the unpopular Preval, who was barred by the constitution from seeking a third term.
Initial results are expected to be ready on December 7, with official results coming 13 days later.
Author: Gabriel Borrud (Reuters, AFP, dpa)
Editor: Chuck Penfold