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#4418: Mayas replies to Grey etc. on election irregularities (fwd)

From: Ben Mayas <moun_andeyo@yahoo.com>

A lot of people on this list have been saying, Lavalas
have massive popular support, why did they need to use
deception in the elections? They could have got a
parliamentary majority by honest means.

I wonder if anything is certain in elections. There
are always surprise results and maybe Lavalas didn't
want any surprises.

It is interesting that the repeated refrain from
voters has been 'we need change'. But does change mean
a vote for Lavalas? Most Haitians will say that it is
Lavalas which has been in power since the end of the
coup d'etat. Of course there is the wider issue of the
conflict between OPL and Lafanmi, both perceived as
Lavalas by the population, less so now but certainly

Lafanmi may have had very legitimate reasons for
breaking away from the OPL and forming their own
party, but I do think that since that time they have
very cleverly made use of the situation of confusion
that has arisen, as to who is actually in power. The
election of 95 put in a parliament mandated by
Aristide's popularity. But after the 'split',
Aristide's party nominally had no share in power. This
put Lafanmi in the convenient position of being able
to distance themselves from the failures of the 46th
parliament, and allow Aristide to stand in the
upcoming presidentials without the taints of a
disappointed electorate. Look at Aristide's attitude
towards Preval over the years, he has at times
distanced himself from Preval and criticized his
actions, but recently Lavalas has been fully behind
Preval's policies on the elections, some might say
unsurprisingly as they favored Lafanmi's alleged

So, to get change, do you vote for Lafanmi to break
the deadlock between parliament and executive or
between Lafanmi and OPL which has crippled Haitian
politics these last years? Or do you vote against

Another important aspect is the importance of parties
in voting intentions. It is clear that 99% of
Lafanmi's popularity is due to Aristide, so if
Aristide is not standing will people still vote
massively for Lafanmi? The party's slogan is revealing
here: vote 11 lan pou 2001 ka bon (vote no. 11 so that
2001 can be good) - ie, so that when Aristide is
elected president in 2001 he'll have a favorable
parliament. The implication is, voters may not be
particularly keen on Lavalas but they are big Aristide
fans, so if they want Aristide's elections to be
really significant, they're going to have to vote
Lavalas in these elections too.

It's often been said that Haitians like to vote for a
personality, someone they know, and ECOSOF's poll
backed this idea up - I have no idea how reliably that
poll was carried out but in Haiti reliable information
is thin on the ground and you just have to pull
together as many clues as you can. To cite an example,
in Dame Marie (Grand'Anse) Andris Riche, former OPL
candidate for the lower house and a senate candidate
in this year's elections, is the subject of adulation
on the part of a considerable section of the local
population. I don't think this is due to his being an
OPL member. He could be in any party, it's because of
what he does, his work in many local projects, that he
is respected the way he is.

Maybe Lavalas feared, and maybe they were right to
fear, a whole host of Andris Riches all across the
country getting elected to parliament posts. Not such
a danger in the senate where department-wide voting
reduces the influence of local personalities, but
quite possibly so in the chamber of deputies. And that
could have lessened Lavalas' chances of forming the
next government.

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