Haiti's electoral authorities say government-backed candidate Jovenel Moise and former state construction chief Jude Celestin will advance to a runoff election for president.

The much-anticipated preliminary results from the 54-candidate first round presidential contest Oct. 25 were issued Thursday by the Provisional Electoral Council. Since no candidate won a majority in that ballot, the two top finishers meet in a Dec. 27 runoff.

Several major candidates have alleged fraud and voiced concern that the results do not accurately reflect national will.

Candidate Moise Jean-Charles placed third in the official results. But he has asserted in recent days that he won half of Haiti's 10 departments.

An appeals period will follow the Thursday announcement. Certified results are expected in late November.