PORT-AU-PRINCE, Haiti, Jan. 23 (UPI) -- Violent protests in Haiti caused the cancellation of presidential runoff elections scheduled for Jan. 24.
The Provisional Electoral Council cited the safety of citizens and potential voters as the reason for the abrupt cancellation following violent attacks on electoral offices.
"Jan. 24 is no longer opportune for having elections considering the threats against the electoral infrastructure and on the population who would have to go vote," CEP president Pierre-Lois Opont said Friday.
Officials stopped ballot distributions and recovered ballots and other voting materials that had been distributed, in fear of further attacks.
The move to cancel the election came after Opont reported attacks on the communal electoral bureau in Limbe as well as the private residence of an elections official in Pignon.
"Masked individuals fired upon the voting center in Savanette this morning," he said. "In Fond Parisien, there was a group of masked, armed individuals who seized all of the sensitive materials that they had started to deliver for Sunday's vote."
The election had been previously postponed from its intended date on Dec. 27 but more violence and allegations of fraud caused it to be moved to Sunday.
No new date for the election was offered during the Friday press conference, despite current president Mitchell Martelly being constitutionally-mandated to leave office on Feb. 7.