PORTU-AU-PRINCE, Haiti – Two people were killed during Haiti’s long-delayed legislative elections amid violence that forced some polling stations to close early, political parties said Monday.
The elections, held after a four-year delay, were meant to be a stride toward restoring constitutional order in the destitute Caribbean country.
Turnout was reported to be low. Several Port-au-Prince polling stations were vandalized in the morning and 26 shut down early because of violence.
The president of a party called Fusion, Edmonde Supplice Beauzile, said the son of a party supporter was killed in the town of Savanette in central Haiti. She did not give the cause of death.
Beauzile, a former senator who is now running for president, said two members of her party were injured.
Haitian President Michel Martelly’s party, PHTK, said that one of its supporters was shot to death in the north of Haiti.
The National Police gave no numbers on election day casualties. It did say that more than 130 people were arrested and that officers had seized 23 firearms.
These were the first legislative elections in Haiti since Martelly took power in 2011.
The poorest country in the Americas suffers from chronic instability and is struggling to recover from a devastating 2010 earthquake that killed more than 250,000 people and crippled the nation’s infrastructure.
Postponed due to a crisis between Haiti’s executive branch and the opposition, the elections were to determine all members of the Chamber of Deputies and two-thirds of its Senate.
Parliament was dissolved on January 13, 2015 after lawmakers’ terms were not extended, and legislative chambers have remained empty for months.
More than 1,800 candidates from 128 registered parties were vying for 139 posts in the two houses.
Sunday was the first of three election days before the end of the year.