Haitian Elections: Less Parties Allowed, Less Voters Expected
|Friday, 01 October 2010 10:47|
Residents of a number of camps recently told IPS they are neither ready nor willing to participate in the Nov. 28 elections, for which the international community is paying two-thirds of the $29 million cost.and that
Only the more middle-class people interviewed said they planned to go to the polls.Scherr describes some IDP’s sentiments, exemplified by a recent demonstration slogan "We are not going to the election in tents. We want housing before elections”, and noting that
In Camp Noailles, just outside Port-au-Prince, no one IPS spoke with planned to vote. A new president should come with plans to bring schools and jobs, "but most people come with a plan that doesn't work," one resident said.Another – perhaps more significant – reason that people will abstain from voting is, of course, the exclusion of the most popular party from the ballot:
Another large group unlikely to go to the polls is the members of Fanmi Lavalas, the popular political party founded by Jean-Bertrand Aristide, forced out of office in 2004 by the U.S., France and Canada and currently exiled in South Africa.This begs the question: how will the U.S. and the international community react if – as with the April 2009 elections, only ten percent or less of eligible voters show up at the polls? Will a Haitian government consisting of officials from only those parties that the CEP has chosen for participation, and elected by a tiny minority of the population, be treated as democratic and legitimate? If the Haitian people decide to reject such a government –and make their dissatisfaction known through public demonstrations – will the international community see their grievances as justified?
The U.S. State Department seems little bothered by such questions. Spokesperson Philip Crowley was caught off guard at a recent press briefing when a reporter asked "But I’m curious about if you have anything specific to say about what’s being called – just, well, what is the disqualification of political parties, not candidates, not specific candidates, including potentially famous candidates, but actual parties," and mentioned the letter [PDF] sent to Secretary Clinton from dozens of NGO’s expressing concern over the CEP’s arbitrary exclusion of candidates.
"Why don’t you ask us again tomorrow and we’ll see if we have more to say about this," Crowley said. But no subsequent mention of Haiti’s elections appears in press briefing transcripts.