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#2914: More on ECOSOF's Poll (fwd)

From: Max Blanchet <MaxBlanchet@worldnet.att.net>


ECOSOF: What the Poll Reveals

The results of this work allow one to reach certain
conclusions which cast new light on the political
environment in Haiti. They can variously confirm,
refute, improve, update or confound the existing data
on the political forces in Haiti. The results show:

1. The presence of a multitude of political
organizations on the ground. Our polling firm has
identified nineteen active political parties, of which
it was able to get the collaboration of only seven.
These seven are the most visible and widespread
around the country. Information gathered from the
nine departments indicates some thirty organizations
that could be considered political parties. Among
these are five -- the Lavalas Family, OPL, Espace de
Concertation, Mochrena, and the PLB -- which have a
national presence. Only two can claim an awareness
and popularity among the local population: OPL and
the Lavalas Family. However, Mochrena is very
aggressive and will be a party with which one
must reckon because of its national presence
and religious base.

2. Another finding: the structure and presence
of the parties does not guarantee their control of
parliament. The study revealed that it is the
candidates who choose the parties and not
the reverse. The lower chamber will be composed
of deputies who are genuinely popular in their own
right and who get nominated by the political party
that can most boost their political chances or with
which they feel a certain ideological affinity.

3. From this it appears that the different parties
to be represented in the lower chamber have slight
chance of gaining an absolute, decisive majority. At
the same time, it is highly likely that the chamber will
be divided between the Lavalas Family and OPL with
the presence of one or two independents and a couple
of representatives of the Espace de Concertation;
all this on the basis of the November 1999 poll which
other polls will have to confirm.

4. In the lower chamber, if the elections were
held in November 1999 there would be serious
competition. For those fifty-one legislative
districts (circonscriptions) for which information
is sufficient the poll found that the Lavalas Family
was in a good position to take twenty-one, OPL nine,
Espace, Mochrena and PLB three each; ESCANP,
MRN, and RDNP one each. If these indications are
borne out, one can expect a divided chamber in the
manner of the Forty-Sixth Legislature. The minority
parties would then be true power brokers in that
they would have the power to negotiate a majority.

5. November 1999 poll results on lower chamber:

Political parties		Probable seats
Lavalas Family		21
OPL			9
Espace de Concertation	3
PLB			3
MOP			3
RDNP			1
Open			39

Total			83

Two other new aspects were touched on by the report:

a. Analysis of the interviewees' responses
indicates that the principal reason motivating their
choice was the reputation of the candidates.
Among the five determining factors identified by
the respondents themselves over the choice of
senators, for example, this one leads in five
departments and is in second place in four.
This factor also scored highest in the table:
68.01 percent of the voters in the Grande Anse
and 59.74 percent of those in the Department of the
South say they would choose their candidates on the
basis of reputation. In the Artibonite, where it had
the lowest percentage as a factor, it was in second
place with 20.50 percent, behind the political party
with which the candidate is affiliated, which had
35.08 percent.

b. The population has also pronounced on the major
problems which concern it and given them an order
of priority. The problem considered most important
is insecurity, followed by the high cost of living,
unemployment, economic problems, and the political
situation. The respondents split on economic problems
and unemployment. This can be explained by the fact
that those who are supported financially by the
diaspora or their parents consider that money
problems are a corollary of the rate of unemployment.

Officials and political leaders can use these results
in their political programs and strategies to meet the
real needs of the population and to find national
solutions while taking into account regional variations.