Haiti's Electoral Council Tries Alternate Ways to Legitimize Fraud - by Stephen Lendman
It's almost surreal following Haiti's November 28 elections, a process elevating fraud to a new level. So bad, in fact, most candidates demanded voiding it and starting over, but no matter. On December 9, New York Times Deborah Sontag headlined, "Haitian Vote Results to Be Reviewed," saying:
"Seeking to defuse the violent protests that have shut down this country for two days, Haiti's electoral council (CEP) promised....to rapidly review the widely mistrusted preliminary results...."
Honest observers and most candidates condemned them, citing brazen fraud, widespread ballot box stuffing, polling stations opening late, closing early, or not opening at all, staffing them with functional illiterates, omitting voter names from rolls, others told their ID cards were invalid, and numerous other examples of electoral illegitimacy, mocking a free and open process.
Nonetheless, the recount was ordered to validate it as well as placate angry voters and candidates. It didn't so diplomats considered Plan B, including France's Ambassador Didier Le Bret saying alternative solutions have been discussed to prevent Haiti from slipping into political chaos. They include:
-- disgruntled candidates given three days through December 15 to appeal;
-- establishing a transitional government to organize new elections;
-- letting all candidates participate in the scheduled January 16 second round; and
-- letting new approved ones participate, excluding those representing Fanmi Lavalas.
The Electoral Act's Section 40.1 (1) permits a runoff possibility with more than two candidates, stating:
"....if there is a tie between candidates who obtained the greatest number of votes in the first round, they all participate in the second round." An electoral tie or close to it may mean "very similar results between two or more candidates" because contrary to Section 42, there's no mention of "perfect equality."
As a result, perhaps compromise is allowed, Article 40.1 saying if first round balloting produces no majority winner, a runoff between the two highest vote getters will do so. However, in case of virtual ties among more than two, they can all participate in a second round.
The combination of mass protests, violence, public embarrassment, and rare dominant media indignation dictate something be done to resolve things, more than putting a brave face on transparent fraud, bad enough to bother some right-wing journalists who never met "free market" despots they didn't love, including in Haiti.
The Wall Street Journal's Mary O'Grady for one, an earlier article describing her unmatched extremism; her space a virtual truth-free zone; her language hateful and vindictive; her tone malicious and slanderous; her style bare-knuckled thuggishness; and her material calculating, mendacious, and shameless.
Yet on December 13 she surprised, in part at least, headlining her latest op-ed, "Haiti's Preval Tries to Steal an Election," saying:
"....Preval seems to regard election fraud as an entitlement." It's a refreshing change from her usual rhetoric, a nice try, but not good enough. Washington controls Preval. Blaming him takes the easy way out in lieu of pointing fingers where they belong - at Obama power brokers choreographing everything, blaming Preval for what went wrong, reportedly with marines close by aboard one or more ships ships, ready to storm ashore if needed to restore calm and take over.