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#3371: U.S. must press for free and timely elections: a comment


I have been reading lately, quite a few comments about the situation in Haiti. I have held my breath often, letting those judgements slide by, but still thinking.

I am a concerned citizen of Haiti, who wishes nothing less than a better future for my country.

I am sending this post, for one reason. Some of us seem to be expressing certain views, without refering to the original facts.

--The government did not just close down the Parliament. Here are the original facts on that point.

1-After the '97 elections that were deemed fraudulent by most, the party in relative majority in Parliament then(the OPL), stalled the whole process, and became extremely confrontational and uncooperative. For instance, they would not vote for a new budget for two years. They rejected Préval's first choice for Prime Minister, Eric Pierre, because the latter could not provide his grand-mother's birth certificate.

---The Electoral Council issue should have been resolved by the 46th legislature, NOT the Espace De Concertation, as we know it now.

2-The OPL never tried to reach an agreement with the government over the issue of new legislative elections, and the formation of a new Electoral Council. Their mandate, according to the Constitution and their own previous agreement with that government, had also expired by January 1999. Préval decided then to play on that technicality, to let them go.

---The moving of the election dates forward, was not predicated by the government.

3-The elections did not take place in November '99 or March 2000, because the Electoral Council itself, in agreement with IFES (a USAID financed electoral "experts" team) agreed that many issues had to be resolved first. The CEP was not ready. When they declared April 9, 2000 as the new date, they were in clear violation of both the 1987 Haitian Constitution, and the Electoral Law published in July 1999.

--The Electoral Council through one of its members, eventually acknowledged that it was wrong for setting April 9 as the date, without the Executive's approval.

4-One member of the Electoral Council even acknowledged afterwords, that they chose the April 9 date, due to enormous pressure from both, certain segments of the international community and the opposition.

--The killings are random at times, but other times, "selectively randomned". There is a lot of confusion there as well.

5-The killings in Haiti are an equal opportunity destroyer. Virtually everyone has been victimized by it, one way or the other. The right has lost people, and the left has as well. Jean L. Dominique for instance, was killed too. No one really knows for sure, who is really behind those crimes. (Unless some of us have "priviledged information").

The fact is, that we all can go around blaming each other, depending on our political affiliation. What we need to do, is to work towards having the elections on May 21 and June 24, as scheduled, and start dealing with the real issues.

Anti-governmental propaganda will not resolve the issues. Fair and democratic elections might help Haiti get there We need to now focus on that, and start thinking positively for once.

Hyppolite Pierre