Haiti Elections News Roundup - July 28

On Tuesday, Jean Fritz Jean-Louis (Ministre Délégué auprès du Premier Ministre chargé des questions électorales) announced that a formula has been found to allocate funding to political parties (500 million gourdes). The first 30% (150 million) will be given to all one-hundred twenty political parties, even those who do not have a single candidate. The remaining 70% (350 million) will be divided in five parts.  20% will be given to the 56 [at the time of writing] presidential candidates (20%); 10 % to senatorial candidates; 10 % to deputy candidates ; 20 % to candidates in the municipal and local elections and 10 % will be given to parties that have most female candidates, those educated to university level or with disabilities. A number of parties, among them OPL (l’Organisation du peuple en lute) and MOPOD (Mouvement patriotique dessalinien) , and FREM (Fron revolisyonè pou entegrasyon mas yo) criticize the formula adopted by the CEP, claiming that the current  formula was not discussed with them beforehand and that, in effect, it favours parties already close to the government.

On Wednesday, the CEP disqualified Willy Duchene, a presidential candidate of the Haitian Republican Party (PHRA), from running in the elections since he does not meet the nationality requirement. Duchene has U.S. citizenship, is registered to vote there and, in line with the Electoral Decree, cannot stand in the presidential elections. After the exclusion of Jacky Lumarque and Levelt Francois, there are now fifty-five candidates in the presidential elections.

In the early hours of Wednesday morning, Pierre Lafond, candidate from the FUSION list in the Marigot commune, was shot during the annual celebrations of the Feast of St Mary Magdalene (22nd July).  He died during the day in Saint Michel Hospital in Jacmel (South East). Initial sources name Gethro Bissainthe (alias Blanc) as the likely suspect. Bissainthe is the cousin of Deronet Déus, the deputy candidate in the Marigot district from PONT (Pou nou tout, For us all) party. No one has arrested so far.

Also on Wednesday, three individuals were hurt in a violent confrontation between two partisans groups in Petit Goâve, one representing Jacques Stevenson Timoléon, the outgoing deputy, and the other Germain Alexandre Fils, a candidate from VERITE platform. The two groups were throwing stones at each other.

In Anse-à-Pitres (South-East), Francisque Jean, a supporter of a FUSION candidate, was lynched with machetes.  Shots were directed at him as he was being transported to the nearby hospital. There are no deaths recorded.

The bodies of Shiller Anthony, Jackson Pierre and Roody Raphael were found on Thursday morning in the Carrefour district. They were attacked by supporters of a rival candidate and shot dead as they were hanging up posters for one of the electoral candidates to the district in the middle of the night. VERITE Platform denounced the systematic violence against its candidates calling on the CEP and the National Police and their duty to assure the security of all candidates.  In response to the growing insecurity and instances of violence, the Haitian National Police (PNH) stated  that it has a security plan in place for the upcoming elections and re-affirmed its commitment to maintain safe and secure elections on the 9th of August.

Jacky Lumarque announced in a press conference that he will take legal action in response to CEP’s earlier decision to disqualify his candidacy in the elections.  The move, he declared, is not aimed against the CEP as an institution. Rather, it aims to establish the reasons behind CEP’s decision and to strengthen the rule of the law.

On Wednesday,  Clarens Renois, the national co-ordinator of UNIR (Union Nationale pour l’Intégrité et la Réconciliation; National Union for Integrity and Reconciliation), called other parties to form a unified front in the presidential elections in order to reduce drastically the number of candidates decreasing, in effect, voters’ confusion. He also announced that a draft policy of nonviolence is now ready waiting for other parties’ approval. He denounced recent incidents of violence and called on the President to create a climate of security for the upcoming elections. 

The EU Observation  Mission arrived in Haiti on Wednesday. Led by Elena Valenciano, the Mission aims to observe and analyze the electoral process, asserting its impartiality. This is the first EU Observation Mission in Haiti and will cost approximately 3-4 million euros.

Newton Louis St-Juste, a presidential candidate of FREM (Front Révolutionnaire pour l’intégration des masses), accused President Martelly of using state funding for his parties electoral campaign. According to St-Juste, Martelly has already spent 18 million dollars to his advantage.

On Wednesday, l’Observatoire Citoyen pour l’Institutionnalisation de la Démocratie (OCID), a civil society consortium including l’Initiative de la Société Civile (ISC), the Centre Œcuménique des Droits Humains (CEDH) and JURIMEDIA,  presented the results of a joint report on civic engagement in the upcoming elections.  The study investigates citizens’ perceptions of the elections, their main concerns and reasons for participating, or not, in the electoral process. The project was led by Neil Nevitte from the University of Toronto with the help of statistician, Joseph Denis Antoine, and the team from OCID.  The whole report is available here.

On Friday, all materials, except for the ballot papers, required for the upcoming legislative elections (August 9, 2015) was delivered to provincial towns.  For the reasons of security, the date for the delivery of ballot papers remains unknown.

On Monday, Marc Daniel André, deputy candidate from Plateforme Payizan, along with several supporters took hostage officials from the BEC (Bureau Électoral Communal) in Beaumont (Grand-Anse. André and his supporters were protesting against the newly chosen electoral supervisor who, according to them, is related to one of the candidates from PHTK in the region. 

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