Election results in Haiti delayed for a few days

Electoral officials in Haiti have delayed announcing the preliminary results of the March 20 presidential runoff election.

Authorities say the results will be made public next Monday, instead of this Thursday as originally planned. Analysts say a credible, functioning government is crucial to the country’s efforts to rebuild after last year’s devastating earthquake.

Many Haitians simply wonder which direction their country will take more than a year after a devastating earthquake changed their lives forever, and whether Michel Martelly or Mirlande Managat will lead Haiti.

Robert Maguire, director of the Haiti Project at Trinity University in Washington, says the election was not about ideology. It was about getting things done. “I think it is a very pragmatic election where people are looking to say: ‘Who is the person that can somehow improve the situation for my life?'”

High on the list of needs is permanent housing for more than half-a-million people still living in camps. George Sassine, Haitian chamber of commerce president, said the private sector is ready to build new housing, once the country’s political situation is stabilized.

“I don’t see it going further than six more months, because a lot of people have already moved out, and what we are seeing is new people are moving in because they know that, in those camps, there is healthcare being given, water, free water and all kinds of things. So you have people moving into those camps. So, it is all about a political decision,” he said.

Joe Leitman, program manager for the World Bank’s Haiti Reconstruction Fund, says 16 international donors have honored an initial $5.6 billion pledge through 2011. Some of that money has gone toward closing the government’s budget gap for 2010. The rest is allocated for more than 20 projects, including rubble removal and what will be the largest housing project in Haiti. He expects the public perception of little progress over the last year will soon fade.

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