Friday, February 4, 2011

Score: Protestors and OAS 1 - The Electoral Process and President Preval 0

I spent Wednesday night at the Provisional Electoral Council (CEP) office waiting for them to announce which two presidential candidates will be in the runoff election on March 20th. The announcement was supposed to be made around 7 PM. I gave up and went home at 5:30 AM Thursday morning and they announced the results a little before 8 AM. Rumor has it that the CEP was split for most of the night between Michel Martelly and Preval's pick, Jude Celestin. Before all the tire burning and rock throwing last month, and before they were under serious pressure from the OAS and United States government, they announced Mirlande Manigat and Celestin to be the leading candidates.

Although it's nice to see that people are pleased with the new results (ie. cheering instead of burning tires) that will send Martelly and Manigat to the runoff election, it's disappointing how clearly manufactured they are. Instead of being the clear outcome of ballots cast, these results are the product of negotiations between political factions and the international community. In the days before the results were announced, calls were increasing for the elections to be reheld, including a statement from the Congressional Black Caucus. CEPR conducted an analysis of the OAS report and found "serious flaws" and "unsupported conclusions," not to mention that they recommended a change in the election results without conducting a full ballot recount. It's kind of sad that it doesn't matter anymore that these weren't actually real elections.

The above poster made by the CEP with the slogan "28 November we'll be voting!" also features a scantily clad cartoon woman in the top left, dilapidated ginger bread house in the top right corner with a huge solar panel and little pine trees photoshopped onto it and below that, a cityscape of what looks like Paris. Questions anyone? 
This is me trying to sleep. Photo by Frank
Martelly talks to the press after the announcement. 

1 comment:

mateovan said...

Yeah, it doesn't feel good does it - this whole idea of choosing the least bad of all the bad options. It was the same thing in 2006 when, in order to avoid a contentious second round, serious negotiation involving the international community resulted in a decision to proportionally divide the spoiled or null ballots among the candidates based on their vote counts, thereby changing the percentages slightly and pushing Preval high enough to avoid a second round. That is NOT an election. Thanks for your perspective on the ongoing saga of Ayiti Cheri.

Matt

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