Amidst a very low turnout, Haiti’s Senate elections were marred today by sporadic violence, forcing authorities to cancel polling in parts of the country. The closing of some polling stations was the result of disruptions caused by hundreds of protesters. More than 4.5 million Haitians were eligible to appoint 12 senators out of 78 candidates, although voter apathy prompted a low turnout following years of broken political promises. Haiti, hit hard in recent months by a series of hurricanes and natural disasters, continues to battle chronic poverty and corruption. The disruption in the elections will further destabilize a fragile political situation on the island.
2 thoughts on “Haitian Elections Marred by Violence”
HIP — Haiti’s Lavalas movement effectively destroyed the credibility of yesterday’s Senate election through a successful boycott campaign called Operation Closed Door. Even the most generous electoral count puts participation at less than 10% in the capital of Port-au-Prince while the actual figure may be as low as 3% nationwide.
According to Rene Civil, one of the spokespersons for Operation Closed Door, “What we are seeing is the non-violent resistance of the Haitian people to undemocratic elections. There is no way they will be able to call the Senators elected in this process legitimate. You cannot hold elections without the majority political party.” Ronald Fareau, another representative of the campaign stated, “We want to congratulate the international community for their hypocrisy in these elections. They spent over 17 million dollars on another electoral fraud in Haiti while our people continue to suffer from malnutrition and illiteracy.”
The controversy over the election began when factions of the Fanmi Lavalas party originally presented two slates of candidates to the Conseil Electoral Provisoire or CEP. The two slates were an apparent attempt to wrest control of the party from former president Jean-Bertrand Aristide who was ousted in Feb. 2004 and remains in exile in the Republic of South Africa. A break-away faction led by former Prime Minister Yvon Neptune questioned the legitimacy of the candidates presented by the former president’s appointed representative Dr. Maryse Narcisse. The campaign against Narcisse and Aristide was brutal among their supporters including accusations of his appointed representative working with the CIA and the US State Department. Neptune’s group then presented a second slate but in the end the Fanmi Lavalas party’s leadership managed to hammer out a compromise list of candidates in time to meet the deadline.
Lavalas flexes its muscles in Haiti
by Kevin Pina
The CEP finally refused to accept the Fanmi Lavalas applications on the grounds they did not have former president Jean-Bertrand Aristide’s personal signature from exile in South Africa. The CEP reportedly would not allow for a facsimile copy of his signature on the documents when they were presented on the final day of the application deadline. This effectively excluded all Fanmi Lavalas candidates from participating in the election and led to the boycott of the Senate elections on Sunday.
FULL ARTICLE: http://haitiaction.net/News/HIP/4_20_9/4_20_9.html
Thank you very much for this timely contribution!