PORT-AU-PRINCE Haiti's opposition presidential candidate Jude Celestin has announced he will not take part in a runoff election because he does not have faith in the process, in a move that could mean a shoe-in for the ruling party on Jan. 24.
Celestin said he would tell election authorities not to put his name on the ballot for an election in the poor Caribbean nation that he says is fraught with irregularities.
"Jude Celestin will not participate in the Jan. 24 ballot, which will not be an election but a selection," Celestin told local station Kiskeya on Thursday.
The runoff was postponed in December after President Michel Martelly agreed to a demand from Celestin and other opposition candidates for an independent investigation into allegations of fraud in the first-round, held in October.
Celestin says corrective measures have not been taken that would guarantee the credibility of the upcoming vote, and he has refused to campaign. His rival, ruling-party candidate and favorite Jovenel Moise has been campaigning actively.
The independent investigators found a range of irregularities including incompetence of clerks at voting booths and in some cases attempts to rig the vote.
The investigators called for a reshuffle of the nine-member electoral council tasked with organizing the ballot, citing a lack of credibility, and urged dialogue to resolve the impasse.
(Editing by Frank Jack Daniel; Editing by Tom Brown)