Low turnout in Haiti's local elections

A man casts his vote at the Canape Vert market, in the Haitiab Capital of Port-au-Prince, on January 29, 2017 (AFP Photo/HECTOR RETAMAL) (AFP)

Port-au-Prince (AFP) - Haitians turned out in low numbers for local elections on Sunday, exhibiting little enthusiasm for the final step in an agonizing electoral marathon that is finally coming to a close.

The country's political crisis began in October 2015, when results from Haiti's presidential election were annulled because of massive fraud.

It took until November 2016 to hold another presidential election, with turnout at a dismal 21 percent.

Sunday's polling sees voters participating in partial legislative elections -- for one seat in the lower chamber of congress and eight senators -- in addition to nationwide local elections.

In addition to the small number of voters, confusion reigned at some polling stations as to the number of urns needed, in addition to uncertainty over the names that were supposed to appear on the ballots.

Some citizens in the heart of the capital found themselves able to vote for candidates from rural areas, and vice versa.

The civic malaise is thought to be due to a lack of political campaigning and distrust in elected officials' ability to improve conditions in Haiti, the Americas' poorest country.

As with each Haitian election, the Organization of American States is sending an observer mission.

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