Haiti: elections set, disputes continue

On June 30 Haitian president René Préval rejected changes US senator Richard Lugar (R-IN), the leading minority member of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, proposed for presidential and legislative elections that are now scheduled for Nov. 28. In a report earlier in the month, Lugar called for international “partners” to help restructure the eight-member Provisional Electoral Council (CEP) and for candidates from the Lavalas Family (FL) party of former president Jean Bertrand Aristide (1991-1996 and 2001-2004) to be allowed to run. The legislative elections were scheduled for Feb. 28 but had to be postponed because of a massive earthquake on Jan. 12. The elections are expected to cost $29.6 million, with the Haitian government providing $7 million and international donors supplying the rest.

Préval blamed FL’s exclusion on the failure of two rival factions to agree on a list of candidates. The party presented two different lists of candidates for senatorial elections in April 2009, but Maryse Narcisse’s faction has since won the support of the exiled Aristide, who officially heads the party, for the current elections [see Update #1014]. The local station Radio Métropole reports that the legislative candidates from the two factions are now in fact running for other parties, including Ansanm Nou Fò (“Together We Are Strong”), Veye Yo (“Watch Them”) and Organization for the Future (OLA). (Reuters, June 30; Radio Métropole, July 1)

From Weekly News Update on the Americas, July 4.

See our last post on Haiti.