On Nov. 16 Rosemond Pradel, general secretary of Haiti’s Provisional Electoral Council (CEP), announced that presidential, legislative and local elections, already postponed twice, are being rescheduled to Dec. 27. Runoffs, if required, will be held on Jan. 31. Haiti’s Constitution requires the new government to take office on Feb. 7. Interim Prime Minister Gerard Latortue confirmed the new dates in a telephone interview on Nov. 17. “The decision is firm and final,” he said. But Patrick Fequiere, head of operations for the CEP, told reporters he was “completely in the dark about this business.”
Voters are to select the president, 27 senators and 83 legislative deputies, along with mayors and other local functionaries. The original plan was for municipal elections on Oct. 9, presidential and legislative elections on Nov. 13 and th runoffs on Dec. 18. (Haiti Support Group News Briefs, Nov. 17 from AP; Agence Haitienne de Presse, Nov. 17)
On Nov. 3 thousands of supporters of Haiti’s biggest party, the left-populist Lavalas Family (FL) of deposed president Jean- Bertrand Aristide, demonstrated in Port-au-Prince in favor of former president Rene Garcia Preval (1996-2001), the presidential candidate of the Lespwa (“Hope”) coalition. FL backers described him as the man who would facilitate the return of Aristide from exile in South Africa. (HSG, Nov. 3 from AlterPresse) Other Lavalas elements are backing former World Bank economist Marc Bazin. Adding to the confusion, on Oct. 20 Aristide spokesperson Maryse Narcisse issued a press release denying “energetically” that Aristide had backed candidates for the “elections/selections.” For “free, honest and democratic elections” to take place, Narcisse said, FL members in jail would have to be freed and exiles would have to be returned to Haiti; “the repression that has already provoked more than 10,000 deaths must end immediately”; and there should be a “national dialogue.” (Haiti Progres, NY, Oct. 26)
See our last post on Haiti.
From Weekly News Update on the Americas, Nov. 20