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Last Updated: Friday, 25 November 2005, 15:43 GMT
Haiti poll postponed a third time
Electoral rally for one of the candidates in Port au Prince, Haiti. File photo.
Electoral campaigning is already under way
The first round of Haiti's presidential and legislative elections have been put back to 8 January, say officials.

This is the third time the vote has been postponed. Interim Prime Minister Gerard Latortue last week said a "firm" date had been set for 27 December.

These will be the first elections since President Jean-Bertrand Aristide fled into exile in February 2004.

The head of the electoral board said Haiti was unprepared to hold "serene" elections at the end of December.

A second round run-off is now set for 15 February.

Ongoing instability

"These dates are the real dates, perfectly final and based on serious planning," Rosamond Pradel of the Provisional Electoral Council told the Associated Press.

He said it was unrealistic to hold elections when all the ballots had not yet been printed, voter identification cards distributed and poll workers trained.

"There was a series of practical points that needed to be addressed for the elections to take place in serene conditions," he said.

Elections were first scheduled for 13 November, but were delayed because of organisational difficulties.

The impoverished Caribbean country has been blighted by political and criminal violence and instability over the last two years, despite an interim government and the presence of UN peacekeepers.

Under the country's constitution, a new government should be sworn in by 8 February.


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