Two dead in Haiti election violence: parties

Port-au-Prince (AFP) - Two people were killed during Haiti's long-delayed legislative elections, political parties said Monday, amid violence that forced some polling stations to close early.

The elections, held on Sunday after a four-year delay, were meant to be a stride toward restoring consitutional 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.

Beauzile, a former senator who is now running for president, added that two members of her party were injured.

Haitian President Michel Martelly's party, PHTK, said meanwhile 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.

Special representatives of the UN Secretary General and a "Core Group" of ambassadors in Haiti welcomed the elections, but condemned the day's unrest.

"While commending the citizens who exercised their right to vote across the country, the 'Core Group' deplores interruptions of the polls in certain areas, acts of violence and the loss of human life," it said.

The representatives urged Haitian authorities to investigate the violence and pressed for calm as results are tallied.

"The 'Core Group' calls on all parties to await peacefully the results of this first round and to pursue the electoral process in compliance with the law," it said.

The group is represented by ambassadors from Brazil, Canada, the European Union, France, Spain, the United States of America and also include the special representative of the Organization of American States.

Sunday's poll was 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 choose the Chamber of Deputies and two-thirds of the Senate.

Parliament was dissolved on January 13, 2015 after lawmakers' terms were not extended, and the 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.