Haiti must resolve its electoral crisis as quickly as possible, so it can face the real challenge: rebuilding after last January's devastating earthquake.
Electoral officials announced on Wednesday that the presidential runoff will be held some time next month, instead of Jan. 16, the originally scheduled date. Ten experts from the Organization of American States, called in to review the controversial results from the first round, must diligently but expeditiously complete their task. The current leadership vacuum is adding to the country's instability, and further hindering Haiti's ability to launch major reconstruction projects and restore its shattered economy.
"The least worst option is to salvage what you can from this election," said Carlo Dade, the executive director of the Canadian Foundation for the Americas. "That means holding a second round as soon as possible, and convincing the population the results are as legitimate as possible."
Widespread accusations of fraud and disenfranchisement followed last November's election. Michel Martelly, a popular singer and a leading candidate for president, failed to win a place in the runoff, beaten by just 7,000 votes by Jude Célestin, the protégé of outgoing President René Préval.
A new report by Oxfam cites the "crippling combination" of Haitian government indecision and donor countries' lack of co-ordination, as the causes of delayed reconstruction. The donor countries have disbursed just 42 per cent of the $2.1-billion pledged. One million people remain homeless.
A sustained recovery requires strong leadership. Haiti must get on with the task.