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#4321: Statement of Leon Manus

From: Joel Dreyfuss <joeld@ubo.net>

Statement of Leon Manus 

June 21 2000 

In March of 1999, after frequent and persistent requests by the President 
the Republic, and after careful reflection, I accepted, along with other 
citizens of Haiti, to become a member of a final Provisional Electoral 
Council (CEP in French) assigned the task of organizing on a national 
scale free, honest and democratic elections for all elected offices in 
Haiti, except for eight Senatorial seats and the office of President.

Considering the critical situation in my country and presuming that my 
reputation as a citizen of honesty and integrity could make a difference 
organizing this electoral process, I agreed to come out of  retirement, 
myself in the service of my country and thus make my contribution to a 
mission that I considered and continue to consider an act of high 
patriotism. When my colleagues on the CEP gave me the privilege of 
presiding over this important institution,I determined to honor their 
esteem and to not deceive the Haitian people.
Not belonging to any political party and beholden to no clan or faction, 
I committed myself to the service of my country.

Difficulties appeared with the very first steps of the Council. There 
technical, administrative and financial problems as well as inherent 
weaknesses in the very structure of the electoral institution that 

us from keeping to the initial timetable. In fact, even if the CEP is an 
independent organizationn, it must depend on the active cooperation of 
state authority to be able to accomplish an important part of its 
mission, budgetary management, access to government media, preparation of 
measures for voters as well as candidates. 

In reality, from early on the CEP had to confront a lack of understanding 
among some, ill will among others, a lack of cooperation from 
authorities -- some at the highest levels. The public authorities were 
suspicious of foreign assistance sought by the Council. As a result, the 
was forced to operate in an environment mined with obstacles and 
Calumnies and threats were in profusion, some blatant, some more subtle, 
often orchestrated by and through state media. 

I endured all this with serenity and patriotism. My honor and dignity 
often put through difficult tests. I always believed that if, through the 
actions of the CEP, my country could end up with solid and legitimate 
institutions, no price should be considered too high. 

The 21st of May was a moment of great satisfaction for the CEP and the 
entire country. Contrary to predictions, events unfolded calmly, and 
delays and logistical problems linked to weight and lack of access 
for certain pieces of the electoral machinery, the most persistent 
and foreign nationals had to admit that the day and the vote on May 21 
a success. 

Glory and Honor to the Haitian People! 

However, beginning the next day, objections began to take shape, putting 
CEP in the cross-fire of those who claimed victory and those who were 
charging a vast fraud. From one side and the other, pressures became 
stronger. The truth, as if often the case in these situations, was 
in the middle. But high passions assigned the CEP to one camp or another, 
while the responsible thing to do was to respect to the letter the 
of the electoral law regarding the entire operation, including the count, 
the tabulation of votes, the management of complaints and the 
of final results. 

All the more because some of these challenges were presumably legitimate, 
particularly when it involved the active role of some elements of the 
in acts of fraud, theft of ballot boxes and falsification of sworn 
statements in the glare of scrutiny during the night and the day 

The publication of some partial results were exploited by one group or 
another in an attempt to discredit the CEP. Even the OAS Mission found it 
necessary to issue a warning that was interpreted in various ways. 

While we continue to maintain our concern about the way the OAS statement 
was made public, I must admit that some of the issues it raised helped us 
delve more deeply into some of the technical issues and to recalculate 
percentage of votes in strict adherence to the stipulations of the 
law. Thus, the definitive results for the senatorial candidates are that 
only five were elected outright in the first round. The majority of those 
who had the largest vote in  the initial count should participate in a 
second round. This is the result of the final tabulations according to 
the terms of he electoral law.

These are the results that as President of the CEP, I expected to make 
public, in accordance with the rules of the Haitian constitution, ethical 
principles and fairness that must be the compass of all public servants. 
doing this, I would remain faithful to the commitment that I had made to 
honor and respect the will of the Haitian people. 

As soon as my decision was reported to the Executive, the pressures began 
grow to convert these partial results into definitive results. This would 
in absolute disdain of all considerations of justice and of respect for 
electoral law. 

>From that point, my security was put in grave danger because I would 
accept the incorrect results that did not conform to the electoral law. 
the highest levels of the State, I received clear warnings of the 
consequences if I refused to publish these false final results. In fact, 
some groups of individuals who claimed to belong to an influential 
party threatened to subject the capital and cities in the provinces to 
and blood and to burn and destroy everything in their way. 

Confronted by an ultimatum to immediately proclaim results that I 
illegitimate and incorrect, I found myself incapable of committing such 
act of treason to my country at such a decisive moment in its history. I 
understood that the conflict -- opposing my legal and constitutional 
resistance to the arbitrary intransigeance of Power and the fury 
orchestrated by certain so-called "popular"
organizations -- was inevitable.

Such a situation left me no choice but to distance myself from the 
to avoid the worst and to slow this unraveling. Without regard to 
interest, I have thus decided to turn my back to this electoral saga 
a stain on my honor, my dignity and my patriotism. 

I continue to believe in the democracy that ends dictatorship and that 
brings to man liberty, justice, the spirit of sharing and dialogue, well 
being and development. 

 I know that certain vindictive and hired men will not accept 
that men of integrity are capable of living in dignity in this land of 
Haiti. They 
are always ready to stain the honor of honest people. Then and now 
I condemn then in view of national and international conscience. 

My fellow citizens, I continue to believe in the redemption of our 
despite the vicissitudes of its existence. No people can live 
in ignorance, division, insecurity, misery and injustice. 

 Leon Manus 

Joel Dreyfuss