"It is the responsibility of the Haitian authorities to organize good elections," Marco Donati, the senor UN official in the southern region told a recent meeting in Les Cayes to encourage the local youth to participate in the polls. "MINUSTAH is merely playing a secondary role in the elections."
The mission is also helping the authorities to maintain a stable political atmosphere conducive to electing the country's legislators, he added.
MINUSTAH has been on the ground in Haiti, the poorest country in the Western Hemisphere, since mid-2004 after then president Jean-Bertrand Aristide went into exile amid violent unrest. Currently there are more than 9,000 military and police personnel deployed and nearly 2,000 civilian staff.
The mission plays a multi-faceted role, ranging from helping to re-establish security in conjunction with the national police force to humanitarian aid and improvement of infrastructure such as roads and bridges.