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#4583: Haiti News Summary - July 7, 2000 (fwd)

From: radman <resist@best.com>

>From: HaitiNewsSummary@aol.com
>  Haiti News Summary - July 7, 2000
>The Following is a brief weekly summary of news from Haiti.  Individual
>sources, mostly from within Haiti, are cited at the end of each item.  If you
>do not wish to continue to receive this news summary please e-mail us at
>HaitiNewsSummary@AOL.com and we will remove you from the distribution list.
>Second Round of Elections to go forward on Sunday July 9.
>The second round of Haiti's parliamentary elections are set to go forward on
>Sunday.  These runoff elections will decide races for 56 seats in the Lower
>House of the Haitian parliament.  The Haitian electoral council has reported
>that ballots are printed and ready.  5000 polling places will be operating on
>Sunday covering roughly two-thirds of the country where runoff are necessary.
>  The Haitian police announced measures that have been taken to guarantee
>security for the voting including bans on carrying firearms and the sale of
>alcohol.   (AHP)
>On Thursday July 6 three new members of the electoral council appointed by
>Haitian President Rene Preval were sworn in by the Haitian High Court.  They
>are replacing two members who withdrew at the demand of their political party
>the Espace de Concertation, and one, Leon Manus, who left the country two
>weeks ago citing fear for his safety.  (TNH)
>Despite boycotts called by the leadership of several political parties
>(ESPACE, OPL, MOCHRENA etc.), many candidates from these parties who are in
>the second round have declared their determination to participate. Maxo
>Balthazar, an OPL candidate for deputy in Belle-Anse indicated he did not
>intend to abandon the race despite the demands of party leadership, as did
>Riguel Tibo the MOCHRENA candidate in the same region. A group of candidates
>in the Northwest from various parties including the Espace de Concertation
>and PLB declared on Wednesday their intention to pursue the elections. "We
>prepared for these elections using our own means to campaign, we wish at all
>costs to defend the cause of our supporters and no one can prevent us (from
>participating)", stated Denis St. Fort of the Espace de Concertation. Two
>candidates for deputy in the Artibonite Yvon Douceur (MOCHRENA) and Guy
>Metayer (OPL) announced their participation in the second round of elections.
>A Fanmi Lavalas coordinator in the Artibonite criticized what he called the
>double game being played by several political parties who were locally
>preparing to have representatives present in the voting booths on Sunday and
>at the same time declaring at the national level that they were boycotting
>the elections. (AHP)
>The elections are planned to go forward despite continued international
>criticism stemming from an OAS claim that the methodology used by the CEP to
>calculate the percentages of votes that went to winning candidates in 9
>Senatorial races in the first round of voting on May 21 was flawed.  (Below
>is a reprint of the CEP's explanation of its methodology, which was released
>last Friday).   The US government in particular has been critical.  The US
>Senate adopted a resolution this week proposed by Senator Jesse Helms this
>week, which called on the administration to withdraw support for the Haitian
>CEP and on the OAS to "take steps to restore democracy to Haiti".  In
>meetings with a Haitian American group in Washington this week State
>Department representative Peter Romero said that if the elections go forward
>as is it will call the legitimacy of the parliament that emerges into
>question and may impact US support for Presidential elections scheduled for
>November. (Miami Herald)
>A Caricom mission was in Haiti this week, their stated mission was to assist
>in resolving the controversy if Haiti wished.  They did not take a position
>in support of the OAS.  The continued international pressure has galvanized
>and mobilized many Haitians to an even stronger defense of the election
>process.  Popular organizations, peasant groups throughout the country have
>continued to express their outrage at what they see as an attempt to
>undermine Haiti's democratic process - and an excuse for the US government to
>withdraw its support from Presidential elections in November in which former
>Haitian President Jean-Bertrand Aristide is widely expected to win.  (AHP,
>Radio Haiti, Radio Quiskeya)
>The CNO, the national coalition of election observers, which received large
>amounts of international funding before the elections, and is headed by
>Leopold Berlanger the director of Radio Vision 2000, has largely broken down.
>  The leadership of the organization claims it will not observe Sunday's
>elections due to the conflict with the OAS. However, many of the member
>groups that made up the CNO and who represent the majority of the observers
>within the CNO coalition, have released statements during the week indicating
>that they will continue the observation process and field observers on
>Sunday. The groups set to observe on Sunday include: KOZEPEP a peasant
>organization which fielded more than 5000 observers in May and which has been
>critical of the CNO leadership, the Platform of Haitian Human Right
>Organizations, who criticized the CNO withdrawal as unlawful under the terms
>of their contract with the Haitian CEP, and UNIRED. The spokesperson of
>UNIRED commented that "many of those intent on obstructing the elections and
>prolonging the crisis in the country are almost that the end of their
>careers, and it is time now for them to give the country's youth and students
>an opportunity."  (AHP)
>As of this time the OAS has yet to announce whether or not it will deploy
>observers in the elections.
>President Rene Preval returned to Haiti Wednesday after attending the
>three-day CARICOM heads of state summit in St. Vincent.
>According to reports the meeting focused on the potential formation of a
>joint market, which is CARICOM's goal, and on the resolution of several
>regional conflicts.  The controversy surrounding Haiti's elections was
>discussed.  According to Preval his delegation provided the participants with
>detailed information on the process used to calculate the votes in Haiti.
>Jean Dominique Month
>Several groups have declared July Jean Dominique month and mobilized to call
>for the arrest of the Dominique's killers.  On Monday Organization 30
>September organized a picket and sit-in at the Ministry of Justice calling
>for the arrest of those responsible for Dominique's murder; it was the three
>month anniversary of his assassination.  There has been tremendous
>controversy over the death of a suspect arrested in the case.  Jean Wilner
>Lalane was shot three times in the buttocks during his arrest last week; he
>was taken to a private hospital to be treated for the wounds, which were not
>considered life threatening.  He died shortly after, reportedly of a heart
>attack.  The Minister of Justice announced that an autopsy would be
>performed.  Michelle Montas, Dominique's widow, who is also a journalist and
>who continues to do the morning news on Radio Haiti,  reported that the
>Minister has told her the suspect did not die of a heart attack.  Montas
>reported that she has other information on the investigation but as a party
>to the civil case being pursued she cannot reveal it publicly.  The suspicion
>over the circumstances of Lalane's death stems from the fact that he was seen
>as a link between the actual killers and whoever may have ordered or paid for
>the murder.
>A Shake Up at USAID
>Rumors are circulating in Port-au-Prince that a major shake up is taking
>place at USAID, with several USAID staff having already left the country.
>Radio Quisqueya noted that for the first time in recent history there was no
>Fourth of July celebration organized at the US ambassador's house.  Some are
>speculating that the USAID shake up may be related to the involvement of
>USAID employees in the departure of CEP President Leon Manus from Haiti two
>weeks ago.  At that time Cammie LeBlanc, the Haitian Minister of Justice
>publicly denounced this involvement, citing the names of USAID employees who
>had spirited Manus from the country.  Manus had strongly opposed the OAS
>position on elections.  In a blistering June 6th letter to the OAS, Manus
>called the OAS critique an attempt to undermine the authority of the Haitian
>CEP, which is the only body legally charged with administering elections in
>Haiti.   One week later he reversed his position and fled the country with
>the assistance of foreign diplomats.
>Dominican Groups Call for Justice in the Case of 6 Haitians Killed at the
>Several Dominican Human Rights and civil society groups have added their
>voices to those calling for Dominican authorities to give a full accounting
>and render justice in the case of the shooting deaths of six Haitians at the
>Dominican border last month.  The Dominican military claimed that it fired on
>a truck carrying Haitians immigrants at the border after the driver had been
>ordered to stop but refused.  Eyewitness accounts have contradicted this
>story.  To date the Dominican government has not released information about
>the exact circumstances of these deaths.  The Haitian Minister of Foreign
>Affairs Fritz Longchamps visited the DR and conveyed a message to outgoing
>Dominican President to pursue this case.  A delegation from the Haitian
>Ministry of Foreign Affairs prepared this week to go to the area where the
>murders took place and conduct their own investigation.  On Wednesday both
>Haitian and Dominican drivers on the border observed a short strike
>The CEP clarifies its Position
>(the following information, included in the June 22 Haiti NEWS Summary, was
>released again by the CEP in a statement signed by six members on June 30 to
>once again clarify the CEP methodology for vote counting)
>The methodology employed to count the votes in the first round of Senatorial
>elections was the same methodology employed by the CEP in previous elections
>when more than one Senate position was open in each departmental race in an
>election.  The methodology was used in 1990 and 1995 elections without
>objection either within Haiti or by the international community.
>The Constitutional Mandate under Article 197
>The Electoral law of July 1999 provides under Article 64 that to avoid a run
>off in an election a candidate for the Senate must obtain an absolute
>majority of votes which is defined as 50% +1 of the valid votes.  Article 197
>of the Constitution of the Republic of Haiti vests the authority to resolve
>all disputes "arising either in the elections or in the enforcement or the
>violation of the Electoral law" with the CEP.  Unfortunately, neither the
>Election Law nor the Constitution describes how to compute 50%  +1 of the
>valid vote when determining the winner in a contested election.  The question
>that arose in this election is what methodology should be used to determine
>whether candidates had won the 50% +1 of the valid vote for the purposes of
>avoiding a run off election.
>The Methodology for Single Member Elections
>Obviously, where there is one position for each separate election contest,
>the methodology is easy to understand and to apply.  The CEP simply tallies
>all the votes for all the persons running for that office and determines
>whether or not any candidate obtained 50% +1. In this situation the
>denominator is the total number of votes cast and the numerator is the votes
>cast for the individual candidate.  Thus for the deputies, where there was a
>separate election for each post, this principle was applied without any
>Under Article 95-3 of the Constitution one-third of the Senate is supposed to
>be elected every two years.  Thus only one of the three Senate seats from
>each department would be contested.  This means that all the Senate
>candidates in each department would be vying for a single seat and their
>constituents would only vote for one Senator for that position.  Here again,
>the principle of "absolute majority" is clearly understood because we would
>simply tally all the votes and determine if any candidate had 50% + 1 as we
>have done in the election for deputies.  Due to a substantial number of
>vacancies in the Senate, however, the May 21, 2000 election required that the
>Haitian people elect more than one Senator from each department.  As a result
>the methodology that would be appropriate where only one Senate seat per
>Department was contested was not appropriate in this election.
>The Methodology Used for One Senatorial Elections Per Department Does not
>apply where more than one Senator is being elected in each department
>It is obvious that the method used to calculate a majority for a single seat
>election cannot apply where multiple candidates are running at large for two
>or more Senate seats in one department.  In a two-candidate race no
>individual Senate candidate could obtain a majority if all the votes were
>simply tallied and divided among the candidates.  For example, let us say
>that there are 100 people voting in an election for two Senators in a given
>department.  This means that if all 100 people voted for the two positions
>there would be 200 total votes.  If each person voted for two different
>candidates, than no candidate could obtain a majority when all the votes are
>tallied and divided.  If there are six candidates running in an election in
>the election and one is extremely popular and everyone votes once for that
>candidate he or she will obtain 100 votes.  However, the same people will
>divide their votes for the second seat among the reaming 5 candidates.  Under
>this scenario the person who obtained a vote from every single person in the
>department would still not have a majority because absolute majority would be
>101 and he would have only 100 of the 200 votes cast.  Thus, the process of
>simply tallying the votes of the candidate as the numerator would never yield
>a winner on the first round unless people did not vote for two candidates in
>a Departmental Election.
>The OAS Proposed Solution
>To avoid the problem of never having a majority where two Senate positions
>were contested in a department, the OAS Observer Mission, through a letter
>sent by the Hon. Orlando Marville, recommended that the number of votes be
>divided by two in order to see if anyone obtained more than 50% of that
>number.  Thus, Mr. Marville's methodology, when applied to the above example,
>would result in dividing the total votes cast in half and using that number
>as the denominator.  This would treat the departmental election as if it were
>two separate elections between which votes were evenly divided.  Under this
>methodology we would be required to treat the total number of voters as 100
>for each election in the above example.  Any Senate candidate who obtained 51
>votes or more would then have won a majority and would not be required to
>have a runoff.
>The problem with the OAS methodology is twofold.  First, it assumes that each
>department is holding two separate Senate elections, when, in fact, it was
>holding an at large election in which all the candidates in the department
>were running for all the Senate seats.  Second, it assumes that everyone
>voted two times in the election in the department.  That is why they are
>suggesting that the total number of votes be divided in half and that that
>number be used as the denominator.  We know that this was not the case.  In
>all Senate elections in each department many people did not vote for two
>candidates even though they were allowed to vote for two different Senate
>candidates.  Under the OAS formula, the CEP would be required to assume that
>everyone voted for two candidates when clearly this was not the case.  Using
>OAS methodology would introduce phantom votes in the calculation of the
>denominator of one Senate seat or another when they did not exist.  It would
>both dilute the vote of a person who voted for only one candidate, and at the
>same time, allow for an improper distribution of votes.  The CEP believes
>that it could not utilize this methodology under the Haitian Constitution
>because it would determine the outcome of an election using an inaccurate
>percentage of persons as if they had voted in each of two elections when in
>fact they made only one selection.
>The CEP Methodology
>The methodology used by the CEP was simply to take the top four candidates
>where there were two positions, add their votes, and determine whether any
>person had a majority in relation to the total of the four candidates' votes.
>  This parallels the procedure used without objection in 1990, when three
>Senators were to be selected in each department and consequently the CEP
>added the votes of the top six candidates, as the denominator in the fraction
>used to determine the percentages won by each and to see who had won an
>absolute majority.  Admittedly this methodology also affects the percentages
>of the total votes by discounting the marginal candidates who obtained a
>small number of votes in the election.  But it comes closest to following the
>intent of the law's reference to an absolute majority of "valid votes" and
>does not rely on a distribution of votes that may not exist, as does the OAS
>methodology.  The criteria the CEP used to determine a 50%+1 requirement for
>a first round victory is consistent with the electoral law, because a person
>must still obtain a majority of the votes cast among all but the most
>marginal candidates in the elections to be declared a winner.   This was the
>methodology used in all previous elections where there was more than one
>Senate seat up for election.
>(This statement was signed by Micheline Figaro, Marie Irma Rateau, Yva
>Youance, Carlo Dupiton, Ernst Mirville, and Macajoux Medard)