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8437: 48 Hours Before the Deadline for the Creation of a New Electoral Council (fwd)

From: MKarshan@aol.com

Press Release:  June 23, 2001
Contact:  Michelle Karshan, Foreign Press Liaison for 
President Jean-Bertrand Aristide
Tel.: (011509) 228-2058, Email: mkarshan@aol.com


With just forty-eight hours left until the deadline by which Haiti is to form 
a new provisional electoral council (CEP), the Convergence continues to stall 
and block an outcome that is mandated by an OAS resolution with a June 25th 
deadline.  The OAS resolution, which encompassed initiatives put forth by 
President Jean-Bertrand Aristide, requires the formation of a new electoral 
council, which is independent and neutral.  The OAS resolution calls for the 
participation of the Convergence in the process but until now the Convergence 
is still acting as an obstructionist to the process.  

This week the spokesperson for the Convergence, Micha Gaillard said that they 
have no intention of reaching an agreement on the electoral council issue and 
characterized their mission at the meetings as "exploratory."  Similarly, 
Victor Benoit, also of the Convergence, said this week that they will not 
agree on a new electoral council without first having "a political accord."  
It is alarming that at this late point in the process the Convergence still 
continues to refuse to contribute in a constructive and positive manner 
instead dragging out the process indefinitely at the detriment of the nation. 

The process, as stated by the OAS resolution, for determining the new members 
of the electoral council is through consultation with various sectors 
including the Convergence and other opposition groups.  The OAS resolution 
has received international support and praise from the United States, the 
United Nations, the European Community, CARICOM and others.  The new CEP will 
be charged with overseeing new free, fair and democratic parliamentary 

While other opposition groups are participating in the process, the 
Convergence once again is demonstrating their continued determination to 
block a resolution to the political impasse by placing, at this late hour, 
unreasonable demands and conditions as a prerequisite to the continuation of 
the process.  The terms that the Convergence are demanding to make their 
participation contingent on are not contained in the OAS resolution as 
requirements to the process. Clearly, this is another delay tactic in an 
effort to sabotage the process that President Aristide has worked diligently 

In fact the only prior condition set forth by the OAS resolution to the 
formation of the new CEP was the resignation of the seven senators to make 
way for new elections.  These senatorial resignations were obtained by 
President Aristide while the OAS meeting was still underway! The President 
continues his commitment to respect the deadline of June 25th despite the 
deliberate maneuvers of the Convergence to halt the process and discredit 
President Aristide's good efforts and achievements in the process.

Simultaneous with the passing of the OAS resolution, President Aristide went 
into action to create a process of participation and consultation with all 
sectors and assure that the deadline of June 25th be respected.  Working 
vigorously around the clock President Aristide took numerous steps for a 
positive outcome. The process has included:

President Aristide securing the resignations of the seven contested 
senatorial seats making way for new elections;

President Aristide inviting by letter the heads of the Catholic, Protestant 
and Episcopal Churches to participate in the process;

President Aristide inviting by letter the Convergence to participate;

President Aristide obtaining the commitment of the existing CEP members to 
resign to make way for a newly named CEP; 

A June 21st meeting with the existing CEP to coordinate their resignations in 
time for the installation of the newly named members of the CEP;

Meetings were held with civil society groups, opposition parties, the 
Archdiocese of Port-au-Prince, the Diocese of Haiti of the Episcopal Church 
and the Protestant Federation of Haiti, and other sectors;

Lengthy meetings were held between the Convergence and Fanmi Lavalas which 
were observed by the Civil Society Initiative Group (GISC) and with the 
participation of high level representatives of the Haitian government. 

An open and democratic dialogue ensued in Haiti regarding participation;

A national day of prayer was held with services at Haiti's main cathedral 
which promoted solidarity between Christians and carrying the message to 
resolve the crisis through negotiations;

Several meetings took place at different levels with all those interested in 
the process of forming the new CEP;

The OAS/CARICOM held a series of meetings with the players involved;

Sectors involved in the consultation put forth their nominations to the new 
electoral council;

The first congress of the civil society majority was held to promote the 
widening of the definition of the term "civil society."

President Aristide publicly expressed his desire on several occasions to move 
the process forward to create a broad-based and inclusive electoral council 
and called on all to respect the OAS resolution as a means to resolve Haiti's 

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