August 27, 2015
The following is cross-posted from the Haiti Elections Blog, which was created to help promote the free access to information and accountability within the electoral process. The blog is co-managed by several non-governmental organizations who work with and within Haiti.
On August 24, the CEP issued a warning to political parties that further acts of disorder would not be tolerated by the electoral council. In a communiqué, the CEP “deplored” the fact that candidates and their sympathizers had “disrupted” the voting on August 9, “ransacking Voting Centers and stealing voting materials.” If a party’s candidates, members or supporters commit similar acts again, that party’s candidates will be excluded from the race in the affected constituency (“circonscription”), the CEP warned.
The CEP identified 8 of 10 departments where such incidents occurred and identified the parties guilty of election-day disruptions in each department. Only in Nippes and the Nord-Est were no parties warned for involvement.
Of the 16 parties named by the CEP, PHTK and Bouclier were the ones most often singled out for blame. President Martelly’s PHTK was reprimanded for perturbing the vote in 6 different departments on August 9, while Bouclier – a party widely perceived to be an ally of PHTK – was cited in 4.
Disturbingly, what the CEP’s communiqué seems to show is that causing trouble goes hand-in-hand with electoral success.
President Martelly’s PHTK leads all parties with 25 first-place Deputy candidates going into the second round. Of those 25 leading candidates, 17 come from departments where PHTK engaged in electoral abuses, according to the CEP’s communiqué. Similarly, 9 of Verité’s 14 Deputy candidates leading after the first round are from departments where the party caused disorder.
For PHTK’s Senate candidates, 4 out of 8 going to the second round come from departments where the party’s behaviour was criticized by the CEP. The same goes for a majority (7 of 11) of the second-round Senate candidates for the next two leading parties, Verité (4 of 7) and Bouclier (3 of 4).
In the absence of action taken to exclude the offenders, candidates from political parties issued warnings by the CEP will dominate the second round of the legislative elections in many departments. This is the case even when the 25 constituencies that the CEP has said will have their elections rerun are excluded from the analysis.
For the Artibonite, Nord, Centre, Ouest and Sud departments, 3 of 4 first-round Deputy winners and 34 of 47 first-place candidates heading to the second round come from parties cited by the CEP for causing disorder on election day. The outlook for the Senate races, where each department is electing two representatives, is much the same for these departments. In the Artibonite, Nord, Centre, Ouest and Sud, candidates from reprimanded parties hold the top two places (and are thus favourites going into the second round) for 8 of 10 Senate seats up for grabs, and make up 14 of 20 Senate candidates overall going to the second round. Only in the Artibonite, however, will the Senate race be redone.
The CEP, by issuing its warning, may have inadvertently demonstrated that the flaws of the August 9 elections go far beyond the 25 constituencies slated to be rerun. Whether the offending parties get more than just a slap on the wrist remains to be seen.
Major parties cited by CEP communiqué (department)
PHTK (Artibonite, Centre, Nord, Ouest, Nord-Ouest, Sud)
Bouclier (Artibonite, Grand’Anse, Nord, Ouest)
Verité (Nord, Ouest, Sud)
KID (Artibonite, Centre, Sud)
Candidates from parties responsible for election-day violence and disorder, selected departments
1st place Deputy
Artibonite: 3 of 6
Centre: 5 of 7
Nord: 7 of 8
Ouest: 9 of 14
Sud: 10 of 12
1st or 2nd place Senate (going to second round)
Artibonite: 2 of 2 (3 of 4)
Centre: 2 of 2 (3 of 4)
Nord: 2 of 2 (4 of 4)
Ouest: 1 of 2 (2 of 4)
Sud: 1 of 2 (2 of 4)