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#4321: Statement of Leon Manus
From: Joel Dreyfuss <firstname.lastname@example.org>
Statement of Leon Manus
June 21 2000
In March of 1999, after frequent and persistent requests by the President
the Republic, and after careful reflection, I accepted, along with other
citizens of Haiti, to become a member of a final Provisional Electoral
Council (CEP in French) assigned the task of organizing on a national
scale free, honest and democratic elections for all elected offices in
Haiti, except for eight Senatorial seats and the office of President.
Considering the critical situation in my country and presuming that my
reputation as a citizen of honesty and integrity could make a difference
organizing this electoral process, I agreed to come out of retirement,
myself in the service of my country and thus make my contribution to a
mission that I considered and continue to consider an act of high
patriotism. When my colleagues on the CEP gave me the privilege of
presiding over this important institution,I determined to honor their
esteem and to not deceive the Haitian people.
Not belonging to any political party and beholden to no clan or faction,
I committed myself to the service of my country.
Difficulties appeared with the very first steps of the Council. There
technical, administrative and financial problems as well as inherent
weaknesses in the very structure of the electoral institution that
us from keeping to the initial timetable. In fact, even if the CEP is an
independent organizationn, it must depend on the active cooperation of
state authority to be able to accomplish an important part of its
mission, budgetary management, access to government media, preparation of
measures for voters as well as candidates.
In reality, from early on the CEP had to confront a lack of understanding
among some, ill will among others, a lack of cooperation from
authorities -- some at the highest levels. The public authorities were
suspicious of foreign assistance sought by the Council. As a result, the
was forced to operate in an environment mined with obstacles and
Calumnies and threats were in profusion, some blatant, some more subtle,
often orchestrated by and through state media.
I endured all this with serenity and patriotism. My honor and dignity
often put through difficult tests. I always believed that if, through the
actions of the CEP, my country could end up with solid and legitimate
institutions, no price should be considered too high.
The 21st of May was a moment of great satisfaction for the CEP and the
entire country. Contrary to predictions, events unfolded calmly, and
delays and logistical problems linked to weight and lack of access
for certain pieces of the electoral machinery, the most persistent
and foreign nationals had to admit that the day and the vote on May 21
Glory and Honor to the Haitian People!
However, beginning the next day, objections began to take shape, putting
CEP in the cross-fire of those who claimed victory and those who were
charging a vast fraud. From one side and the other, pressures became
stronger. The truth, as if often the case in these situations, was
in the middle. But high passions assigned the CEP to one camp or another,
while the responsible thing to do was to respect to the letter the
of the electoral law regarding the entire operation, including the count,
the tabulation of votes, the management of complaints and the
of final results.
All the more because some of these challenges were presumably legitimate,
particularly when it involved the active role of some elements of the
in acts of fraud, theft of ballot boxes and falsification of sworn
statements in the glare of scrutiny during the night and the day
The publication of some partial results were exploited by one group or
another in an attempt to discredit the CEP. Even the OAS Mission found it
necessary to issue a warning that was interpreted in various ways.
While we continue to maintain our concern about the way the OAS statement
was made public, I must admit that some of the issues it raised helped us
delve more deeply into some of the technical issues and to recalculate
percentage of votes in strict adherence to the stipulations of the
law. Thus, the definitive results for the senatorial candidates are that
only five were elected outright in the first round. The majority of those
who had the largest vote in the initial count should participate in a
second round. This is the result of the final tabulations according to
the terms of he electoral law.
These are the results that as President of the CEP, I expected to make
public, in accordance with the rules of the Haitian constitution, ethical
principles and fairness that must be the compass of all public servants.
doing this, I would remain faithful to the commitment that I had made to
honor and respect the will of the Haitian people.
As soon as my decision was reported to the Executive, the pressures began
grow to convert these partial results into definitive results. This would
in absolute disdain of all considerations of justice and of respect for
>From that point, my security was put in grave danger because I would
accept the incorrect results that did not conform to the electoral law.
the highest levels of the State, I received clear warnings of the
consequences if I refused to publish these false final results. In fact,
some groups of individuals who claimed to belong to an influential
party threatened to subject the capital and cities in the provinces to
and blood and to burn and destroy everything in their way.
Confronted by an ultimatum to immediately proclaim results that I
illegitimate and incorrect, I found myself incapable of committing such
act of treason to my country at such a decisive moment in its history. I
understood that the conflict -- opposing my legal and constitutional
resistance to the arbitrary intransigeance of Power and the fury
orchestrated by certain so-called "popular"
organizations -- was inevitable.
Such a situation left me no choice but to distance myself from the
to avoid the worst and to slow this unraveling. Without regard to
interest, I have thus decided to turn my back to this electoral saga
a stain on my honor, my dignity and my patriotism.
I continue to believe in the democracy that ends dictatorship and that
brings to man liberty, justice, the spirit of sharing and dialogue, well
being and development.
I know that certain vindictive and hired men will not accept
that men of integrity are capable of living in dignity in this land of
are always ready to stain the honor of honest people. Then and now
I condemn then in view of national and international conscience.
My fellow citizens, I continue to believe in the redemption of our
despite the vicissitudes of its existence. No people can live
in ignorance, division, insecurity, misery and injustice.