Haiti Elections: Catholic Church still Undecided whether to join the Govt.-formed Electoral Commission or Not

BY WADNER PIERRE

REUTERS271698_Articolo
Photo Credit: Reuters.

Nearly two months since Haiti’s Conseil Electoral Provisoire (Electoral Provisional Council), know as the CEP, announced the final results for the first round presidential elections, second round legislative and local elections that plagued with massive frauds. The controversial results for the presidential elections placed Haiti’s ruling Party candidate, Jovel Moise at the first place with over 34 percent of the popular and the former 2010 presidential candidate Jude Celestin in second place. Since then protest against those tainted results have been widened throughout the country.

After candidates and their backers, religious leaders (Catholics and Protestants) and national and international human rights and advocacy groups urged the CEP to form an independent commission to investigate the electoral frauds that were no longer mere allegations, the CEP rejected such proposition and proceeded to schedule the presidential runoff on Dec. 27 with the two candidates obtained the majority of the vote. Celestin, a member of group of eight presidential candidates, known as G8, who have been protesting the CEP’s results, declared he would not participate at the runoff unless the CEP satisfied the demand of G8.

The United States, a staunch supporter of the current administration, and spent over $30 millions for the organization of these log-overdue elections, sent Kenneth Merten, the U.S former ambassador to Haiti and State Department’s Special Envoy to Haiti to convince candidates, most importantly Celestin, to accept the CEP’s results. Merten, a close friend of Martelly, and one the controversial figures that engineered Martelly’s election in the 2010 controversial elections, failed to his mission.

After political and diplomatic negotiations failed, the Haiti’s government then decided for form a commission to the electoral crisis and make recommendations to end the electoral dispute. The commission is formed, but Catholic Church is still undecided whether not it will send a representative.

Bishop Patrick Aris, a supposed member of the commission, denied Rosny Desroches’ statement of the Church participation at the presidential commission’s first meeting. He told Haiti’s daily newspaper, Le Nouvelliste that Cardinal Chibly Langois, who is the head of Episcopal Conference of Haiti, “Is in touch with the government officials.” He added, “There is progress, but no decision has yet reached,” the religious leader referred to the possibility of the Church join the electoral evaluation commission.

It is important to point out that Mr. Desroche is polarized figure, and was a supporter of the 2004 coup. His presence at this commission could certainly bring back some bad memories, and that could discredit the commission’s recommendations.

Meanwhile, Haitians continue to root for fair, democratic and participative elections. They demand the CEP to investigate the frauds that tainted the electoral process, and they will not stand by to let another 2010-style electoral debacle hinders the democratic process in Haiti.

 

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