BCEN Issues Final Rulings, Lamothe and Former Ministers Out of Presidential Race

Overnight, the Bureau du Contentieux Electoral National (BCEN) posted its final rulings in the 11 appeals that were heard over the last few days. Haitian press reports indicate that the candidacy of former Prime Minister Laurent Lamothe has been rejected. Former ministers Thierry Mayard Paul and Josefa Gauthier as well as Anthony “Ti Tony” Bennet and former president of the Senate Dieusseul Simon Desras were all excluded from the presidential race as well. Jacky Lumarque, Moise Jean Charles, Joseph Antoine and ruling party candidate Jovenel Moise all had their candidacies maintained by the BCEN.  It is now up to the CEP to analyze the documents of all candidates, including the dozens that were not challenged, and publish the final list of candidates.  It is unclear when this list will be published, as the CEP's calendar designated May 30 to announce the final list of presidential candidates.

Over the last week, there has been much speculation as to whether or not Lamothe would be allowed to run. An advisor to Lamothe told the press after the BCED had rejected the former prime minister’s candidacy that they would use “the power of the people” to ensure his eventual participation in the election. Yesterday the U.S. Embassy in Haiti issued a warning saying that they had “received word of the possibility of civil unrest,” over the next two days.

Lamothe also tried to lobby the public through a series of press conferences, where he and a team of lawyers presented information they said showed the arbitrary and political nature of the BCED’s decision to reject his candidacy. Lamothe’s argument centered on the fact that the BCED had initially accepted the candidacies of former government ministers Mayard Paul and Gauthier, therefore it was unfair to exclude him from the race since all lacked the necessary discharge. Now, with the BCEN ruling, all three have been rejected. 

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