Haiti Elections News Roundup - July 13

The campaign for legislative elections officially launched on Wednesday, July 8. Candidates for Senate and the House of Deputies now have less than four weeks to promote their policies and candidacy to the general public before the first round of elections scheduled for August 9. Notably, the CEP has yet to disburse the 500 million gourdes that was earmarked by the Electoral Decree to campaign for legislative elections, leaving some candidates unable to campaign effectively. On Friday, Prime Minister Evans Paul assured political parties that they would soon receive the campaign finance funds once the government determines the best method for disbursement.

The VERITE party continues its reinstatement campaign for former presidential candidate Jacky Lumarque, along with other disqualified candidates. On Thursday, July 9, thousands of protestors marched in Port-au-Prince to demand Lumarque’s reinstatement. Although CEP President Pierre-Louis Opont recently reiterated the finality of Lumarque’s disqualification, leaders in the VERITE remain resolute.

Wikenson Bazile, an employee of the CEP, was shot and killed in Port-au-Prince last weekend. Bazile had worked alongside CEP member Jacceus Joseph, the representative for the human rights sector. Bazile’s killing is regarded by many as the newest threat to the CEP, which has recently been the subject of an alleged assassination plot. The CEP issued an official statement on the incident on Thursday in which they condemned Bazile’s killing and “other threats publicly committed by hostile groups towards the electoral process, the Council and its members.”

On Thursday, the National Network for the Defense of Human Rights (RNDDH), the National Council for the Observations of Elections (CNO) and the Haitian Council for Non-State Actors (CONHANE) issued a joint press release urging the government to address the unstable security situation in Petit-Goave, where there has been widespread voter intimidation and violence. According to the press release, legislative candidates associated with VERITE and PHTK, the party of President Michel Martelly, have “create[d] an atmosphere of fear and intimidation which, according to all evidence, is intended to prevent voters from exercising their right to vote. . . If nothing is done in Petit-Goave, only the most powerful and bold candidates will have control of the polls and streets on election days.”   

On Wednesday, July 15, the United States Senate will hold a hearing on “U.S. Policy Towards Haiti Prior to the Elections,” which will be presided by Florida Senator Marco Rubio, who recently proposed amendments on promoting fair elections in Haiti. Tom Adams, State Department Special Coordinator for Haiti, will speak at the hearing as a witness.

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