Haiti’s radical opposition protests OAS vote mission

Several hundred radical opposition protesters demonstrated Friday in Port-au-Prince, angry over an international election mission that they say will interfere in Haiti's presidential vote.
The protesters, who back the election's opposition candidate, are upset by the Organization of American States' deployment of a special mission meant to ease the country's political crisis.
The OAS is acting at the request of outgoing President Michel Martelly, and opposition activists claim that he and his foreign backers are bent on rigging the poll in favor of his chosen candidate.
Demonstrators marched down the streets of the capital with red cardboard signs in hand which read "Down with the OAS."
"The time has come that we take the destiny of our country in hand after 212 years of destruction, and the OAS is always in the middle of these conflicts," student Joenson Versailles said.
Martelly is constitutionally prohibited from standing for re-election and his legal term in office ends on February 7, when he had hoped to hand over power.
His favored candidate, the previously little-known Jovenel Moise, won October's first round with around a third of the vote and remains the favorite.
But opposition flag-bearer Jude Celestin was close behind and refused to campaign ahead of the second vote, alleging the government was working against him.
The second-round presidential runoff, which was originally scheduled for December 27, was postponed indefinitely last Friday, less than 48 hours before voting was to begin.
Members of the UN Security Council expressed concern Friday "that the delay in elections may undermine Haiti's ability to address the security, economic and social challenges it faces."
Since 1986, when president-for-life Jean-Claude "Baby Doc" Duvalier fled a revolt, the Caribbean island nation, which is wracked by poverty and the after effects of a devastating 2010 earthquake, has struggled repeatedly to hold credible elections.

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