The anger and frustration brewing just below Haiti's surface burst into the open with violent protests last week, fueled by a flawed election and the tiny margin separating two candidates fighting for a runoff spot.
For many Haitians, an election whose unlikely outcome was questioned by impartial observers is the last straw following months of depressingly slow progress to help victims of last January's earthquake. The elections should be challenged -- but not in the streets and not by violence and a breakdown of social order.
The international community has made a commitment to assist Haiti, but the country must have a credible, stable, legitimate government in place before moving on to the next stage of recovery.
This much should be clear: Under the present uncertainty, no one's going to put more money into Haiti. Any premature effort to scuttle the election or delay a second round of balloting without good reason postpones recovery. Delay prolongs the agony of Haiti's one million disaster survivors in bleak refugee camps.
To date, Haiti's feuding presidential candidates have shown little in the way of leadership. They may have good reason to question the results of the Nov. 28 election, but sending supporters into the streets with rocks, bottles and burning tires only promotes fear and disarray.
If they want to help end the violence, the candidates can start by taking part in the three-day appeals process that ends Wednesday while the electoral council reviews the disputed vote. At the same time, they must signal supporters to cease and desist -- end the violent protests.
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