Despite the announcement last week by CEP spokesperson Richardson Dumel, numerous media reports, and laudatory statements from by the United States, France and other foreign governments, it now appears that the CEP did not in fact make a decision as to which Haitian presidential candidates should proceed to the runoff election. As the New York Times reported yesterday:
At least one of the eight C.E.P. members, Ginette Chérubin, also sent a letter to Haitian news outlets this week saying she and three of her colleagues did not sign on to the decision adding Mr. Martelly to the runoff, casting further doubt on its legitimacy.
But if what Chérubin says is true, “further doubt on its legitimacy” is an understatement. It would in fact mean that the CEP did not make a decision.
Chérubin’s brief statement is available here in English (unofficial translation), and we are pasting the original in French, below.
Haitian newspaper Le Nouvelliste spoke with Chérubin (in English via Google Translate), the representative to the CEP from women's associations, who told them: "No. I did not sign. I was the first to leave the room, well before the end of discussions,” and continued:
"I know that Jean-Pierre Toussaint Thélève did not sign. I just talk to him, and he gave me permission to quote his name. However, I know that we are 4 not to have signed these results."
Haiti Libre posted what it claims are the names of the four CEP members who did not sign on Friday.
The CEP currently consists of only eight members, as former CEP member Jean Enel Désir was forced to resign months ago due to a corruption scandal. The fact that four did not sign off on the final results means no majority was reached. As lawyers with the Institute for Justice and Democracy in Haiti explained in a press release today:
Article 8 of the CEP’s bylaws requires that the Council’s decisions be made by an “absolute majority of its members.” Therefore, a valid decision regarding the run-off would require five votes.
IJDH notes that the current run-off controversy is the result of trying to create a “good” result from the deeply flawed November 28 elections in Haiti. IJDH supports the efforts of many Haitian civil society groups and political parties, joined by the Congressional Black Caucus and several U.S. human rights groups in calling for new, inclusive elections as the only practical solution to Haiti’s election crisis.
CEPR, who conducted the only independent recount of the tally sheets posted by the CEP, found there to be so many irregularities that “it is impossible to determine who should advance to a second round. If there is a second round, it will be based on arbitrary assumptions and/or exclusions." Although the CEP announced a run-off election with Manigat and Martelly, they have posted no final vote tallies for either candidate.
Vu le malentendu créé par une information erronée parvenue à la majorité des organes de presse haïtiens et étrangers et, suite aux multiples appels qui me sont parvenus en vue de faire le point sur la question, je tiens à préciser que, le 03 février dernier, je n’ai pas signé le document relatif aux résultats définitifs du premier tour des élections des présidentielles et législatives du 28 novembre 2010.
Cette précision est importante, vu mes prises de position publiques sur une proposition de démarche souhaitable, en vue d’une sortie de la crise postélectorale en Haïti. Si je ne saurais contester le nouveau classement des candidats aux élections présidentielles qui reflètent - selon une masse critique d’électeurs, observateurs et analystes politiques - le vote du plus grand nombre ; en revanche, j’estime que la démarche utilisée pour statuer définitivement sur les contestations n’a pas épuisé le processus qui aurait, dans un esprit de probité, permis de concilier à la fois : une prise en compte relative et appropriée des consultations techniques accordées par les Experts de l’OEA, l’observance de la législation haïtienne (contentieux suivi de vérification de la tabulation etc.) et, notamment, le respect de la souveraineté nationale.
Ginette Chérubin, Arch.
Membre du Conseil Electoral Provisoire