Haiti panel says presidential runoff can take place Jan 17 if will exists to make improvements

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A panel that evaluated Haiti's contested presidential election says the majority of the irregularities it found in first-round voting were due to ineptitude by poll workers.

Commission member Rosny Desroches said Monday that only 8 percent of examined tally sheets and other documents from the Oct. 25 vote were free of irregularities. But the commission describes that as a woeful lack of preparation rather than vote-rigging as the opposition has asserted.

He says commission members did not see evidence of widespread fraud favoring any candidate.

No. 2 finisher Jude Celestin has rejected the official election results and refused to campaign in recent weeks. His team has been mum about the commission's findings.

Desroches says a Jan. 17 runoff can reasonably take place if the will exists to swiftly make improvements.