The hurricane, cholera and anti-MINUSTAH protesting have sort of pushed election news to the sideline this month. But, Haiti's presidential and legislative elections are still scheduled to take place this Sunday, November 28th.
For months activists and human rights organizations have been monitoring and denouncing the pre-election process. Problems and corruption within the Provisional Electoral Commission, the body that is responsible for carrying out the elections (and that is considered illegitimate by many Haitians), the fact that names of earthquake victims have yet to be removed from lists of registered voters, the decision not to put voting centers in camps, the barring of Fanmi Lavalas from the election (which regardless of your position on the Aristide debacle, remains of one of Haiti's largest political parties), politically-sponsored gang activity, growing frustration over cholera and many, many other issues point to Sunday's elections being one big mess. Check out this article (and the photo credits).
Frankly, I don't have much hope that the elections will be fair in any way. Yesterday on a walk through Petionville, Ben and I noticed that some of the voter registration lists posted in front of the lycee on Place St-Pierre (this is where people registered as living in the area go to find out where to vote) were torn down. We talked to a few people standing around and it definitely felt like I was more frustrated that the lists had been vandalized than anyone else - and I don't actually have the power to vote on Sunday! Most of the Haitians I know are so disenchanted with the political process and so convinced that a new president won't actually change their situation, that they won't be voting. I liked this perspective on the whole thing.
As in April 2009, I'll be an election monitor, this time for RNDDH, and Ben will be out taking pictures, so stay tuned to find out how things go.