Haitians were electing legislators to Parliament Sunday after a yearslong wait, but the vote was plagued with delays, disorder and occasional fistfights and rock throwing.
The legislative elections had been postponed for nearly four years due to a political showdown between Haiti’s executive and opposition, and they have been billed as a crucial test of the country’s electoral system ahead of a presidential vote in October. Sunday’s first round seeks to fill two thirds of the 30-member Senate and the entire 99-member Chamber of Deputies.
But a number of polling stations across the country of 10 million people had to wait for ballots hours after voting was supposed to start at 6:00 a.m. In sections of Port-au-Prince, voters who began trickling in around dawn grew exasperated after being told they couldn’t cast ballots because their names weren’t on official voting lists.
“This is very frustrating. Are they trying to discourage voting?” gardener Gerald Henry complained to a reporter after election workers turned him away.