January 7, 2010
By THE ASSOCIATED PRESS
Filed at 7:16 p.m. ET
PORT-AU-PRINCE, Haiti (AP) — Haiti’s democratic and economic development hinge on a pair of legislative and presidential elections planned for this year, the top U.N. representative to the Caribbean nation said Thursday.
In a year-opening speech, peacekeeping chief Hedi Annabi said Haiti’s security and economy improved in 2009 as the country avoided political deadlock despite the ouster of yet another prime minister.
But Annabi warned that relative progress depends on successfully holding two elections in a country where casting ballots and counting votes has often led to bloodshed and turmoil.
”Success would allow the country to enter a virtuous circle where stability and development are mutually reinforcing,” Annabi said of the elections. ”Their failure will exacerbate distrust and suspicion and could jeopardize the progress achieved during the last four years.”
The first test comes Feb. 28, when voting is scheduled for seats in both legislative chambers.
Presidentially appointed officials have disqualified about 15 political groups from fielding candidates ahead of the vote. Opposition groups are threatening to disrupt the vote, saying the council is clearing the way for President Rene Preval’s newly formed Unity party to win seats in parliament, amend the constitution and increase executive power.
Preval used his Jan. 1 Independence Day speech to pledge that elections would be fair, but did not address the disqualifications.
Annabi called on all elements of Haitian society to contribute to the upcoming vote and presidential elections expected later in the year, and said the 9,000 U.N. soldiers and police under his supervision would provide security and help with logistics.
”The success of the elections depends not only on the (electoral council), which must of course honorably discharge the important responsibilities that were assigned. It also requires the full commitment of all political actors of civil society and all citizens,” Annabi said.
In response to a reporter’s question about local media reports that international partners have not provided $15 million needed for an estimated $25 million election, he simply said peacekeepers were confident the money would arrive.
Peacekeepers will also focus this year on border security, justice sector and prison reform, and training Haiti’s rapidly expanding national police farce, he said.
Annabi stresses the need for SMOOTH ELECTIONS and does not mention FREE-AND-FAIR ELECTIONS
The MINUSTAH chief already knows the February elections are a charade, created by Preval and his team of Chimere. I have spoken to senior UN staffers who openly admit that Preval has already bought candidates in all electoral battles. In some, they admit, he has several on his payroll. The UN and embassy staffers also freely admit that the CEP is completely and totally controlled by Preval.
With these two simple factors the money for elections should be withheld and any result declared fraudulent. There are indications that some may withhold their contributions, allow completion of the flawed, criminal electoral process, and then declare the elections for what they will be – fraudulent and of no value.
I am not a Lavalas supporter. Having said this, you cannot have any sort of meaningful election unless they are allowed to succeed, or fail, at the ballot box.
Students of Haitian history will note the mirror image of January, 1999 when Preval allowed the government’s death and ruled by decree for 18 months. As the Washington Post said…”With the stroke of a pen, Preval has created a dictatorship.” This time around they will simply violate the 1987 Constitution.
The International Community expect the rule of law, but turns its back on Preval’s ongoing lawlessness, in the misplaced belief that this will save Haiti.
When the explosion comes, Haiti’s people will blame the International Community for the entire fiasco.
And they will be correct.