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5933: Haiti's electoral process (fwd)
From: "Tom F. Driver" <firstname.lastname@example.org>
In all the talk about the importance of respect for the law (or lack thereof) in
Haiti's year 2000 electoral process, it seems to me that too little attention
has been paid to the role of the CEP. Is it, or is it not, under the law, given
responsibility to supervise elections, interpret the electoral law, and certify
electoral results? It seems to me that it is.
The point is timely because of the discretionary responsibility given to the
Secretary of State of Florida to interpret the law and certify the results of the
presidential and congressional elections in her state. While to Democrats it
seems that she is using her authority in an arbitrary and biased way,
Republicans are arguing that she is entirely within her authority and has
been acting properly. The press is too polite to dwell on the fact that she is
in alliance with the Republican governor of Florida, who just happens to be
the brother of one of the candidates, and that she was co-chair of that
candidates' political campaign.
If, under these circumstances, Kathleen Harris can be given the benefit of the
doubt, why could not Haiti's CEP be given the same? If it could, then the
fuss over the elections there last May could be put to rest.
The great difference I see between the electoral process in Haiti and that in
the U.S. is not "respect for the law" as such. It is that the U.S. has a
functioning, though far from perfect, judicial system, while Haiti's is so far
from perfect that it barely functions. Even so, it might have been very
interesting, and perhaps beneficial to Haiti's democratic institutions, if the so-
called opposition parties had decided to challenge the May elections in court
rather than to rely on Uncle Sam to wag its mighty finger at Father Aristide
while they themselves sulkily opt out of the process altogether.
Tom F. Driver
New York City