As we have pointed out previously, the English language media has all but ignored the news that – as reported by Haitian newspaper Le Nouvelliste – four CEP members may never have signed the document affirming the Council’s decision regarding the second round of elections. Given the major media's neglect in covering this story, one could be forgiven for thinking that the second round is a foregone conclusion, however in Haiti the controversy is very much still alive.
Last week, according to L'Agence Haitien de Presse (AHP), two presidential candidates, Jean Henry Ceant and Yves Cristalin filed a legal challenge that would require Richardson Dumel (the CEP spokesperson) to prove the authenticity of the document he read with the final results on February 3. After failing to come to court, on Friday the police were sent to bring him in. According to AHP, however, he has yet to present the evidence that was asked of him.
The article also notes that there is some debate as to whether the CEP can now organize the second round of the elections given that the results have not been officially published and the results were only signed on to by half of the CEP members (thereby violating the internal rules of the CEP).
The situation on the ground is a direct contradiction to the rosy picture painted by foreign officials the day of the CEP announcement. U.S. Ambassador Kenneth Merten said:
“It’s a great day in Haiti today again. We had some positive results from the (electoral council) earlier this morning...We are pleased to note that they seemed to have been very diligent in following the OAS verification mission’s report’s recommendations.”CEPR Co-Director Mark Weisbrot recently participated in an event with Professor Fritz Scheuren, the 100th president of the American Statistical Association and a member of the OAS Verification Mission to Haiti. At the event, Weisbrot challenged Scheuren to respond to CEPR's criticisms of the OAS report. Mr. Scheuren's answer (which can be seen here) confirms CEPR's criticisms. He acknowledges that the OAS Mission did not do any statistical inference because of "non-sampling error." This presumably refers to the missing votes (some 10 percent of tally sheets). This make sense as an answer to the question of why they did not use statistical inference. However, the Mission could have at least acknowledged the problem of the missing votes, and – as CEPR did -- make some attempt to estimate how they might have affected the outcome.
Most importantly, Mr. Scheuren's answer is an admission that the OAS Mission had no statistical basis on which to recommend changing the outcome of the elections, which is what the Mission recommended, and what was eventually done.
Given the flawed report from the OAS, the intense international pressure on Haiti to accept the report, the controversial "decision" announced by the CEP spokesperson and the ongoing legal battle in Haiti, it is a wonder that virtually no major English language media outlets have reported on the CEP's apparent indecision.