[Date Prev][Date Next][Thread Prev][Thread Next][Date Index][Thread Index]

5933: Haiti's electoral process (fwd)

From: "Tom F. Driver" <tfd3@columbia.edu>

In all the talk about the importance of respect for the law (or lack thereof) in 
Haiti's year 2000 electoral process, it seems to me that too little attention 
has been paid to the role of the CEP.  Is it, or is it not, under the law, given 
responsibility to supervise elections, interpret the electoral law, and certify 
electoral results?  It seems to me that it is.

The point is timely because of the discretionary responsibility given to the 
Secretary of State of Florida to interpret the law and certify the results of the 
presidential and congressional elections in her state.  While to Democrats it 
seems that she is using her authority in an arbitrary and biased way, 
Republicans are arguing that she is entirely within her authority and has 
been acting properly.  The press is too polite to dwell on the fact that she is 
in alliance with the Republican governor of Florida, who just happens to be 
the brother of one of the candidates, and that she was co-chair of that 
candidates' political campaign.

If, under these circumstances, Kathleen Harris can be given the benefit of the 
doubt, why could not Haiti's CEP be given the same?  If it could, then the 
fuss over the elections there last May could be put to rest.

The great difference I see between the electoral process in Haiti and that in 
the U.S. is not "respect for the law" as such.  It is that the U.S. has a 
functioning, though far from perfect, judicial system, while Haiti's is so far 
from perfect that it barely functions.  Even so, it might have been very 
interesting, and perhaps beneficial to Haiti's democratic institutions, if the so-
called opposition parties had decided to challenge the May elections in court 
rather than to rely on Uncle Sam to wag its mighty finger at Father Aristide 
while they themselves sulkily opt out of the process altogether.

Tom Driver

Tom F. Driver
New York City