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#4360: Aristide's Electoral Fraud, Carey Continues (fwd)
From: Henry F. Chip Carey <email@example.com>
Aristide's attempt to steal first-round victories is extremely serious and fails one of the most fundamental tests of human rights law (free and period elections are a fundamental right in both the Universal Declaration (a UN General Assembly Resolution accepted as customary intenational law) and the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights, the latter of which Haiti has signed and ratified). In Haitian law, the issue is primarily statuory, not constitutional, to meet the requirements of the 1999 electoral law.
Another significant factor is political: Fanmi Lavalas won a plurality among some 39 parties in the Senate races, in no small part because of name recognition, Bo Tab La. In a second-round race with only two candidates for each position, the challenger gains instant name recognition. Just to give one example of how second-round electoral dynamics work, take last week's election for may of Bucharest, Romania, as reported by Michael Shafir:
"Democratic Party candidate Traian Basescu in the runoff for the post of Bucharest
general mayor had already produced a mini-surprise by qualifying for the runoff against Sorin
Oprescu, the Party of Social Democracy in Romania's (PDSR)
candidate. The gap between Basescu's 41.1 percent backing in
the first round and Oprescu's 17.2 percent, however, seemed
far too large to be bridged. But when the ballots were counted on 19 June, Basescu
had produced nothing short of a miracle: he received 9,815
votes more than did Oprescu."
I will add that there have been no charges of fraud. What happens on a one-on-one race is not only more competition, but the development of mutually loyal opposition. Aristide, a very astute politician, understands all this and is apparently seeking to avoid it. Like Zulfikar Ali Bhutto, certain electoral majority apparently does not suffice. After Bhutto stole some three dozen additional seats in the 1977 Pakistani elections, he was overthrown in a totally unjustified, but predictable coup.
Assistant Professor of Political Science
Georgia State University
Atlanta, GA 30303