Haiti Elections News Roundup - June 29

Many have questioned the credibility of the CEP over the last week due to the recent disqualification of presidential candidate Jacky Lumarque. The central critique is that the CEP disqualified Lumarque due to political pressure, rather than the requirements of the Electoral Decree. Lumarque’s VERITE party, as well as some of his former colleagues, maintain that Lumarque did not need a décharge for his positions in the Working Group for Education and Training and the National Committee for the Road of the Slave, as he did not direct public funds while at these posts. The failure of the CEP to issue detailed explanations for its disqualification decisions has further contributed to a growing lack of confidence in the institution. Additionally, the CEP has stated that more presidential candidates may be disqualified in the future.

Mirlande Manigat, Secretary General of the Democratic Assembly of National Progressives, wrote an open letter to the CEP and Haitian government on the “selection of presidential candidates.” She writes, “the manner of operation of the CEP… has demonstrated its incompetence [and] lack of professionalism… increasingly, some challenges have arisen that cast a shadow of doubt on elections, if they will be held. The population expected impartiality from the CEP, where instead cronyism is found; [the population] hoped for the integrity of its members, where instead suspicion arises.”

Although legislative candidates are prohibited from public campaigning until July 9, civil society groups around Haiti have drawn attention to two likely campaign issues: women’s political participation and the influx of Dominicans of Haitian descent. The Women’s Ministry, MINUSTAH, and grassroots women’s groups, among others, have all recently launched initiatives to help amplify the voice of women in the political sphere. Whereas, organizations such as RNDDH (Réseau National de Défense des Droits Humains) and Conhane (Conseil Haitien des Acteurs non Étatiques) have expressed their concern over the growing humanitarian crisis presented by recent deportations and repatriations, and the effects they could have on the electoral rollout. 

On Friday, the governments of Brazil and the United States pledged an additional $6 million USD to the electoral rollout, bringing the total electoral budget pledged to the UNDP to $44 million. This new total, however, is still more than $20 million under the budget called for by the CEP. Despite this shortfall, the CEP maintains that it will administer elections in accordance with the electoral calendar, and spent about $4.5 million towards electoral booths, ballot boxes and ink just last week.

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