Haiti Elections: The Crisis Continues

By Paul Shepard
Was there any good reason to expect that the black cloud of problems trailing Haiti would not extend to their national elections?

The island nation ripped by poverty, earthquake, cholera and storm damage can now add political collapse to the list of ills since Sunday’s voting for presidential candidates ran headlong in to allegations of fraud and total disarray at polling places.

Voters didn’t know where to cast ballots, and when they did find a polling place, they often found their names weren’t listed on voter rolls to allow them to vote. At other polling places, gangs of thugs took over the ballot places and scattered paperwork. Some ballots were even burned.

Of the 19 candidates running for the presidency, 12 candidates joined the call for the election to be canceled because of the problems. The candidates also denounced Haitian President Rene Preval for election tampering.
According to accounts from the New York Times, crowds ran through the streets, carrying tree branches, to stop the elections.

The national election council, though, reported that there were election problems at just 56 of 1,500 voting centers, meaning that election results would likely be reliable. Results won’t be available until after Dec. 7th.

It would be easy to dismiss the election problems as just another problem for the country that is slipping further in to disarray, but the more unstable the government appears, the less likely foreign governments are to open up the purse strings to the millions in promised aid that is being held up.

So while the so-called leaders and their thugs destroy the election and ruin public confidence in the government, we all know who will really end up suffering: the average people of Haiti.

The elections must be cancelled and new ones held under proper supervision.


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