Controversial Senate Elections Planned in Haiti by Kevin Pina

Posted on April 6, 2009

The Obama administration and the international community have remained silent the past two weeks concerning a decision by Haiti’s election council to move forward with controversial Senate elections scheduled for April 19. Without disclosing its origin, the United Nations announced on March 24 that Haiti received over 100 tons of election materials to be distributed to 11,000 voting locations in advance of the poll. The National Democratic Institute, an organization created by the U.S. government and loosely associated with the Democratic Party, has been busy holding seminars throughout Haiti in preparation for the upcoming Senate elections.

The apparent decision to green light the contentious ballot comes on the heels of a ruling by Haiti’s Provisional Election Council or CEP to exclude the Fanmi Lavalas party of former president Jean-Bertrand Aristide on procedural grounds. Haitian president Rene Preval met with Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton in Washington on Feb. 5. The election council’s decision to disqualify all of the Fanmi Lavalas party’s candidates was announced the following day.

Major stakeholders in Haiti such as the U.S., Brazil, Canada and France have to worry whether excluding Lavalas from the upcoming ballot will be seen as undemocratic and call into question the validity of the elections. A recent visit in early March by former president Bill Clinton and U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-Moon to ‘draw attention to Haiti and promote development’ has only temporarily distracted attention away from the issue.


Posted in: Coups, Haiti, MINUSTAH, NED, US