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#3361: OAS Electoral Observation Mission - Press Release (fwd)

From: Mary Durran <durranmary@hotmail.com>

OAS Electoral Observation Mission in Haiti
Press Release
24 April 2000

Informal Translation

For further information, contact Mary Durran on 509 511 56 90 e-mail: 

The OAS Electoral Observation Mission expresses its indignation about the 
abduction and subsequent disappearance last Thursday of Claudy Myrthil, 
Espace de Concertation (Space for Concord) city delegate candidate for the 
Port-au-Prince council assembly.  The Mission calls on the judicial 
authorities to clarify the whereabouts of Mr. Myrthil and guarantee his 
safety and immediate release.  The Mission affirms that such violent acts of 
intimidation are unacceptable in a state of rule of law, and are even more 
reprehensible occurring in the midst of an electoral campaign, especially 
when the victims are actors in the political process.

The Mission is troubled by the climate of insecurity in the country, which 
has led to the withdrawal of some candidates from the legislative, municipal 
and local elections.  The Mission regrets the candidates’ decisions to 
withdraw, and reaffirms the importance of sustained efforts by the 
Government, political parties and civil society to work together to 
establish the climate of security necessary for holding elections.  The EOM 
encourages all candidates to continue their electoral campaigns in spite of 
the difficulties encountered.  In so doing they will demonstrate the will of 
the political parties to support the Haitian people’s right to freely choose 
its leaders.

The Mission is also concerned about the current impasse holding up attempts 
to resolve the electoral process in the Grande Anse.  The Mission insists 
once again that the State has primary responsibility to assure conditions of 
security to permit the functioning of its institutions. The Mission also 
reaffirms that dialogue, held in an atmosphere of peace and public security, 
is the best way to resolve the crisis.  In support of the authority of the 
Provisional Electoral Council (CEP) over electoral institutions, the Mission 
urges all parties to unite forces to find a viable solution to allow the 
Jérémie Departmental and Communal Electoral Bureaux to reopen and thus 
guarantee the citizens of Grande Anse the right to vote on 21 May 2000.

The Mission also calls for the application of Article 171 of the July 1999 
Electoral Law, which allows for electoral observation by national groups 
accredited by the CEP.  The EOM believes that national observation is one of 
the key aspects of guaranteeing transparency in the upcoming vote, as well 
as future elections in Haiti.   The Mission encourages all those involved to 
work together in a common goal to ensure this democratic principle is 
applied in the upcoming elections as well as those of future generations.

In the same spirit, the Mission encourages the CEP to continue its work to 
ensure the Haitian electorate goes to the polls on 21 May and 25 June, the 
dates decreed by the President of the Republic. With this goal in mind, the 
EOM urges the CEP to nominate and train polling station workers, and to 
finish printing and deliver the ballots within the required timeframe.   The 
Mission stresses its support for the CEP in its efforts to ensure  the 
participation of the Haitian electorate in credible, transparent and 
peaceable elections.

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