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#3219: election 'fever' : a comment


In a message dated 4/11/00 1:55:45 AM Eastern Daylight Time, Charles Arthur 

<< b) Time and again, it is written that Aristide hopes to have the
 legislative elections postponed until later in the year when they will
 coincide with the Presidential election. This strategy is, so everybody 
 writes, designed so that his Fanmi Lavalas candidates can 'ride into power 
 on Aristide's coat-tails'.
 The fist point is that such a political approach is not at all
 unusual - indeed it is exactly what happens in most respected democracies 
 such as the US and the UK where a party leader attempts to use his/her high 
 public profile and/or popularity to help candidates of his/her party win 
 seats in the legislature. Why is it then so sinister in the case of Aristide 
 and Haiti?
I agree wholeheartedly with your argument. However, I must conceed that it 
may not stand in Haiti's case. This is a country that is only now 
experiencing with Democracy. The opposition is very, very frustrated for 
having not been able to make inroads in the political process. We must admit 
that, it is not Lavalas fault. In fact, we do have a free press in Haiti, and 
the unfortunate death of Jean Dominique the pioneer, will not hamper it.

But, the majority of the population seems to firmly stand behind the leader 
of the Lavalas party and the political machine he leads. It is thus probably 
correct to state, that the majority would vote in waves for his party, if 
both the presidential, and the parliamentary and municipal elections took 
place at the same time. This would have created a more uneven situation. God 
knows what this opposition would do to disrupt government, considering the 
inflamatory statements of many.

It is better in a matter of fairness, to give that opposition an "artificial 
chance" at success, so long as the process itself is not rigged with 

This is also why I agree with Préval, when he asked the Electoral Council 
(CEP), for a full accounting of what has been accomplished so far, prior to 
setting a firm date for elections. I also think, despite the pressure and 
concerns of the international community, that he is being really fair to all 
parties doing it that way.

I am by the way very optimistic, that the CEP and the government will reach 
soon a reasonable conclusion (i.e. elections date), that will satisfy all 
parties in that conflict.

Hyppolite Pierre