JACQUELINE CHARLES of the Miani Herald reports on forthcoming elections in Haiti.
Haitian President René Préval has mandated that the country’s nine-member Provisional Electoral Council plan for presidential elections. The mandate, however, is not the presidential decree that sets the official election date and that the international community has been pressuring Préval to issue. Still, it is an important step toward getting an official date, and signifies that despite pressure from at least one member of the U.S. Congress and foreign diplomats, Préval has no intention of revamping the electoral commission.
The international community has warned Préval that the credibility of the elections depends on that of the elections body, which has been saddled with controversy. Préval has refused, saying to do so could invite mischief-makers who could cause a delay, forcing Haiti to move to an interim government. Both he and the international community, including the United States, are opposed to an interim government, which opponents have been pushing for.
Préval has denied accusations by some accusing him of “handpicking” the CEP members, telling The Miami Herald earlier this week, “All the members of this CEP, as were all of those of the predecessor CEP that carried out the successful senatorial elections of 2009 were chosen by civil society groups and political party groupings,” and none by him.
Under Haitian law, the CEP, which is already charged with carrying out local and the postponed Feb. 28 legislative elections, will now write to Préval asking him to officially set the presidential election date, which is expected in November.