This interpretation makes Preval’s handpicked election council “the final arbiter” in any dispute related to the electoral process. Ironically, that was the same position taken by the Latortue regime in Feb. 2006 when it tried to use the CEP to stack the deck against Preval. Their decision was final and there was no appeal until burning tires and massive crowds blocked every major intersection of the capital finally forcing them and their patrons in the international community to back down. As the analyst close to the CEP put it, “Anyone who remembers the ‘Belgian Option’ knows who was really pulling the strings,” referring to the face saving solution where Belgian electoral law was invoked to count thousands of blank ballots. Under Haitian law blank ballots are discarded but in in Belgium they are divided evenly among all the candidates. After thousands of discarded ballots were discovered in public dumping sites throughout the capital, the US, France and Canada agreed to use this irregular measure to return a majority of the ballot count to Preval. That unprecedented decision bore no relationship to Haiti’s constitution and has called into question the legitimacy of official rulings on electoral law by the CEP ever since.
The Washington-based group the Haiti Priorities Project recently dispatched a team of 70 pollsters throughout Haiti. According to their findings, “Only 5 percent of potential voters nationwide say they are ready to go to the polls in order to elect 12 senators for the upcoming elections on April of this year.” In polling from several areas of Haiti they make it clear that, “The majority who participated in the survey intend to stay home due to the inconsistency exhibited by the administration of President Préval and the international community wanting to practice [electoral] exclusion, a system in which the people have been rejected since the fall of Duvalier 1986.” If their polling is correct, the upcoming elections in Haiti may be the first real foreign disaster of the Obama administration since it took office. (Bulatlat.com)
Kevin Pina is a journalist and film maker who divides his time living in California and Haiti. Pina reported extensively from Haiti for FLASHPOINTS, a radio program heard daily on KPFA, the flagship station of the Pacifica Network. He is also the Founding Editor of the Haiti Information Project (HIP), an alternative news agency operating in Port au Prince, Haiti.