Haiti called off its presidential election on Friday, two days before it was due, over concerns of escalating violence sparked by the opposition candidate’s refusal to take part in a process he said was riddled with fraud.
The president of Haiti’s electoral council, Pierre Louis Opont, said the runoff vote was being pushed back for security reasons. But he did not say when the election, already postponed twice before, would be rescheduled.
The announcement led to jubilation from demonstrators marching to oppose the election. They danced on the streets of the capital Port-au-Prince, but the mood quickly darkened. Gunshots were fired as protesters clashed with police.
The postponement is nevertheless expected to ease unrest after days of protests in the deeply impoverished country of about 10 million people, at pains to rebuild from a devastating earthquake six years ago and to emerge from decades of political dysfunction.