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Haiti's president sets election in quake-devastated nation

By the CNN Wire Staff
STORY HIGHLIGHTS
  • Presidential elections set for November 28
  • Many Haitians had questioned whether vote would proceed
  • Election official hails decision as a "big step"
  • U.N. chief urges fair and transparent election

Port-Au-Prince, Haiti (CNN) -- After months of uncertainty, Haiti's president Wednesday set November 28 as the day that voters in the earthquake-devastated nation will head to the polls to elect a successor.

Elections scheduled for February were postponed after a massive earthquake struck on January 12, leaving more than 200,000 dead and displacing as many as 1.5 million people from their homes. Many government buildings were destroyed or damaged and thousands of records and documents were lost forever.

Given the magnitude of the earthquake and the slow start to recovery efforts, Haitians were unsure whether an election could take place this year.

Many had also expressed a lack of confidence in the government and took to the streets to protest President Renee Preval, who they said has been dragging his feet on announcing an election date.

But Preval on Wednesday signed decrees mandating Haiti's Provisional Electoral Council to organize presidential and legislative elections on November 28. Haiti's constitution prohibits Preval from seeking another term.

"It's a good thing and a big step," said Serge Audate, chief of staff at the Provisional Electoral Council.

U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon called on the government to ensure that the vote will be fair and transparent and said that it will "serve to reinforce Haiti's democratic institutions as the country strives to recover from the worst humanitarian crisis in its history."

Preval has said in the past that political stability is fundamental for the development of a country.

"I think that is what constitutes a guarantee for investors, for the population -- that there's some guarantees, that there's some security about their future," he said during a visit to Washington in March.

CNN's Edvige Jean-Francois contributed to this report.

 
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