Today two articles report on the recent decision by Haiti’s Provisional Electoral Council (CEP) to exclude Fanmi Lavalas (FL) – the country’s most popular political party - from the upcoming legislative elections, in which all 99 seats in the House of Deputies and one third of the 30 member Senate are up for election.

EFE reports that while registration for the presidential elections will take place next week, the legislative elections will include 55 political parties and some 900 candidates, but not Fanmi Lavalas. Meanwhile Wadner Pierre, writing for Inter-Press Service, reports that in reaction to the CEP's decision, "one hundred Fanmi Lavalas supporters held a sit-in outside the U.S. Embassy in Port-au-Prince." Pierre continues:
"The ambassador here is the representative of the U.S. government in Haiti," said Lionel Etienne, a former Fanmi Lavalas congressman. "We come here today to question the behaviour of the U.S. government. We're asking if they will continue to finance the exclusion of Lavalas by the CEP with Préval."
Yesterday, however, the OAS announced they will be sending an Electoral Observation Mission to Haiti, and that:
The United States and Spain made specific offers of financial assistance while other Member States and Permanent Observers pledged to support the effort through contributions in kind or financial resources towards covering its costs, which are an estimated $5.3 million.
A report released earlier this month from the Institute for Justice and Democracy in Haiti provides further details on the exclusion of FL and other issues related to the elections. The report also notes that after FL was excluded from the April 2009 elections, the international community was quick to respond:
The U.S. Embassy in Haiti declared that, “under the law, elections should involve all major parties and serve as a unifying force for democracy. An election based on the exclusion…will inevitably question the credibility of elections in Haiti and among donors and friends of Haiti.”
Despite these principled statements in favor of fair and inclusive elections, when the CEP refused to correct the exclusion of FL, the international community, including the United States, abandoned the principles and provided generous support to the elections. International donors supplied Haiti with $12.5 million, or 72% of the election’s cost. All of the actors that had criticized the exclusion when it was made, praised the elections when they were held without the participation of FL or over 90% of Haitian voters.

The international community again turned a blind eye when the CEP excluded FL in November 2009 and pledged $18 million for the February 2010 voting.

By dropping their principled objections to the April election’s flaws and the November exclusion, the international community gave the CEP a green light to keep excluding the government’s political rivals.
It appears the international community is once again giving the green light to non-inclusive elections.