March 09, 2010
Hillary Clinton, speaking alongside Rene Preval, said that “I assured President Preval that the United States would work with the international community to hold elections as soon as appropriate.” She also commented that Preval had told her elections were vital “to ensure the stability and legitimacy of the Haitian Government.”
The AP reported last week that Edmond Mulet, head of MINUSTAH, also had said that the presidential elections must proceed. Legislative elections that were supposed to happen last month have been postponed.
Missing from these discussions is that there were significant flaws in the planned February election, 15 political parties were excluded from participating. The Provisional Electoral Council’s arbitrary exclusions included Fanmi Lavalas, the most popular party in Haiti. Furthermore, the are constitutional issues with regards to the Provisional Electoral Council’s legitimacy. 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. Before the earthquake there had already been widespread anger with the decision.
Despite these facts, electoral support from the US and UN continued. When elections finally do proceed as scheduled, it is imperative that they are fully inclusive.