Will October 25 be better than August 9? "Nothing is less certain," according to Le Nouvelliste

The following is an unofficial translation of an editorial published in Le Nouvelliste on October 6, in response to U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry’s brief visit with President Martelly on Tuesday. The original editorial, written by Frantz Duval, is available here, and the full text of Kerry and Martelly’s joint press conference can be found here.

Kerry, Opont, Merten and Martelly must give more guarantees

The American Secretary of State visited Haiti on Tuesday. His message was simple and clear: forward with elections, no to violence and intimidation.

For his part, President Michel Martelly promised, at the joint press conference with John Kerry, that "the support given to the police will be reinforced so that it is more effective on election day." He confirmed that he will step down on February 7 and predicted a democratic transfer of power.

Speaking of violence, the first situation to denounce is this advantage granted by the CEP and the HNP to the troublemakers of August 9. The inability to sanction the agitated, the agitators and the masterminds could inspire other excesses on October 25. No to violence and yes to more effective police – will this be enough to distinguish what lies ahead on October 25 from what happened on August 9?

Nothing is less certain.

In addition to the violence, there was a planned disorganization on August 9 by the electoral council and the state apparatus. Three days before the vote, the president of the electoral body and the government were swearing that everything was ready, but it is clear they sinned by inaction or omission.

Will the CEP be honest the next time? Has the government taken the right measures since the August meltdown?

As for the Haitian National Police – nurtured by the Americans, monitored by MINUSTAH – from whom did it receive the instructions of indolence and passivity on August 9? What has changed since then in the chain of command?

What John Kerry did not address in the press conference was what has been happening since August 9 within the CEP, which is much more serious than the grave incidents that marred the voting day. 
When we see the very weak public awareness program implemented by the UNDP, the Haitian government, democratization support agencies and the CEP itself, one wonders if the goal is not to convince voters to abstain from voting a little more each election. Have the authorities properly diagnosed the cause of low turnout?

For departments and constituencies where elections were canceled on August 9, the final results have been announced. In departments where elections were held, the results are still unknown. The CEP has even applied an unlawful method of calculation, to quote the words of its president, to designate winners in the senatorial contests. The CEP and its contentious bodies have interpreted, reinterpreted, rewritten and cut up the electoral decree that governs elections in order to publish results concocted on an unclear basis.

Did Kerry and Martelly review these aspects of the next crisis that hangs before our faces?

In Haitian elections, the most important thing, as a candidate has confided, is to keep 70% of one’s campaign budget to manage the green carpet, the hallways of the CEP, in the days after the vote. These days alone really matter.

Who dared to put this issue on the table?

John Kerry did not really tell us everything, on Tuesday. Michel Martelly did not really promise everything, on Tuesday. Pierre-Louis Opont still did not perform any act of contrition, on Tuesday. Kenneth Merten did not swear that he would not play the same role as in 2010, on Tuesday.

On Tuesday, a serene October 25, which is so necessary to the legitimacy of our next representatives, never seemed so far away.

On Tuesday, a good October 25 never seemed so indispensable.

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