The Organization of American States (OAS) announced that they will be sending election observers to prepare and monitor elections in Haiti. Legislative elections had been planned for February, however have been postponed due to the earthquake. Presidential elections are set to take place in the fall as Preval's term ends in February 2011.
The OAS press release says that, "the OAS mission will hold discussions with Haitian President René Préval and Prime Minister Jean-Max Bellerive, as well as other government ministers. The delegation will also meet with a broad range of stakeholders, including the Provisional Electoral Commission (CEP), national political parties, the private sector and civil society.
An important question is if they will also meet with Fanmi Lavalas and the other 14 political parties that have been arbitrarily excluded by the CEP from participating in the planned election?
In addition to the arbitrary exclusions, there are constitutional issues with the CEP. The Haitian Constitution calls for a Permanent Electoral Council, however the current Provisional council’s members were appointed by Preval during his term in office. This is especially troubling since opponents of Preval’s INITE coalition were being excluded from the electoral process while INITE was not.
Despite widespread anger with the decision, the US, UN, and OAS continue to support this flawed electoral process.
The Prime Minister suggested that both legislative and presidential elections will take place in the fall, but whenever elections do take place, it is imperative that they are both fully inclusive and fair.