Suspension of elections aid is not a reduction of U.S. support
Haiti’s upcoming elections price tag is estimated at $55 million
The U.S. will not be financing Haiti’s Oct. 9 rerun presidential elections, State Department spokesman John Kirby said Thursday.
Kirby said Haitian officials were notified on July 1 that the U.S. government, which provided $33 million toward last year’s contested legislative and presidential elections, “has suspended its assistance toward the completion of the presidential electoral process.”
“We did not plan funding for two more electoral rounds in 2016 and 2017,” Kirby said.
He insisted during a news briefing that the suspension of electoral aid did not symbolize a “reduction in U.S. support for the development of Haiti” or its people.
The U.S., along with the European Union, which announced last month that it was pulling its elections observer mission from Haiti , has made no secret of its displeasure with the country’s decision to rerun the first round of the presidential race. The decision was taken by the Provisional Electoral Council on the recommendations of a five-member panel tasked with auditing the Oct. 25 vote.
Even before the U.S. announcement, a number of Haitians, including the elections council head Léopold Berlanger and interim President Jocelerme Privert argued that the country should find the estimated $55 million to finance the upcoming presidential rerun and contest for 10 Senate seats, and Jan. 8 runoff.
“We already made ourselves clear: Haiti will make all effort to find the $55 million to do the elections,” said presidential spokesman Serge Simon. “If no one comes to our assistance we will manage because the priority for us is the elections.”
The U.S. announcement comes as Haiti’s bickering parliament continues to stall over whether to prolong the term of Privert, whose 120-day mandate expired on June 14, and the head of the United Nations peacekeeping operations warns that the international community is losing patience with the ongoing political crisis.