Haiti certifies presidential victory of first-time candidate


PORT-AU-PRINCE, Haiti (AP) — An electoral tribunal in Haiti has rejected claims that massive voter fraud marred the November presidential election victory of first-time candidate Jovenel Moise, officials said Tuesday.

The judges found some irregularities but not enough to affect the outcome based on an analysis of 12 percent of the ballots, the country’s Provisional Electoral Council said in a statement.

Moise, a 48-year-old businessman from northern Haiti who was chosen by former President Michel Martelly to run as the candidate of his Tet Kale party, defeated 26 rivals in the first round on Nov. 20 and avoided a runoff. He won more than 55 percent of the vote, though turnout was low at 21 percent.

Several rivals challenged the results but the electoral judges said they found “there was no massive fraud,” according to the council. There were no immediate reports of significant protests following the announcement, though at least one of the defeated parties was expected to demonstrate in the capital later.

Authorities annulled an initial October 2015 election that Moise also won after a special commission found significant fraud. The country has been led by an interim president since February 2016.

Moise is to be sworn in on Feb. 7.

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