Haiti (MNN) — In the earthquake- and cholera-ravaged country of Haiti, residents voted Sunday in the most important
elections in years.
Within hours of the election's start, chaos and confusion erupted at the
polling places, and protesters took to the streets around the Caribbean nation.
Although it was quiet Monday, it remains unsettled, says Eva DeHart with For
Haiti with Love. "Rosaline DeHart's description was that there were manifestations absolutely
everywhere. Apparently, Cap Haitien was one of the last places to erupt, but it
was just everywhere. It was all over the country."
The atmosphere was electric going into the polls. DeHart notes that "the combination of what's
going on and the stress from all that they've been through in the last year is
all coming to a head."
United Nations officials expressed concern about voting
disruptions. Eva DeHart explains, "Word on the street was that people went to
vote, their names were not on the list even though they had registered, and the
ballot boxes were already full; so there's a lot of accusations of fraud."
The growing outcry was stoked further when 12 of the 19
presidential candidates called for the cancellation of the election, denounced the outgoing President, and accused him of a conspiracy to hand the
presidency to his party's candidate, Jude Celestin.
Discontent over the disorganized process boiled into a crisis.
"People are really high strung about this election anyway. So you turn that
loose, and it ends up erupting." The
Haitian government had no immediate response to the criticism, and although the
electoral council is proceeding, it's not expected that the demonstrators
will accept results quietly.
Results are expected by December 7. If no presidential candidate wins a majority
of votes, a run-off election will be scheduled for January 16.
DeHart says even as their team waits for the chaos to simmer
down, they are responding as best they can by keeping their feeding program and medical clinic
active. For instance, despite Sunday's
unrest, "A couple of the girls probably
live close enough to have gotten [the clinic] open. It's really important, because during
these riots, people get cut and hurt."
As For Haiti prepares themselves to act in Christ's name
and meet needs, DeHart urges people to
pray for the nation and for wisdom. "People
are praying. There are more revivals going on in Haiti right now. They are turning to God because they truly
understand that He's their only answer out of this."