Haiti's Sham Elections: Solidifying Imperial Control - by Stephen Lendman
On November 28, first round legislative and presidential elections will be held. As a previous article explained, democracy will be absent because the nation's most popular party, Aristide's Fanmi Lavalas, and 14 others are excluded, the system rigged to install Washington's favorites.
In a September 8, Miami Herald op-ed, Ira Kurzban, an immigration and employment law expert as well as
Aristide's former legal counsel headlined, "Unfair and undemocratic," saying:
"Imagine if (America's) Federal Election Commission disqualified the Democratic and Republican parties from the 2012 presidential election and declared that only candidates of minor parties could run."
"Yet (Haiti's November 28 elections) are just that - unfair, unconstitutional and undemocratic."
On November 10, Brian Concannon, Director of the Institute for Justice & Democracy in Haiti, in the Boston Haitian Reporter headlined, "Haiti's Flawed Elections: They Told Us So," saying:
The November elections "may be the most important in Haitian history," voters to "choose the entire House of Deputies (its lower body) for four years, a President for five years, and one-third of the Senate for six years. These officials (will be responsible for) guiding Haiti's (post-quake) reconstruction for at least four years." What they accomplish "will shape Haitian society for decades." What they won't is deeply worrisome.
Especially since the process is deeply flawed under new eligibility rules, President Preval's hand-picked Provisional Electoral Council (CEP) requiring each party head register presidential candidates in person. Exiled in South Africa, Aristide can't do it, denied permission to renew his passport to return that prevents him. Moreover, the CEP lacks legitimacy, Haiti's Constitution mandating an independent Permanent Council, free from party politics.
As a result, Kurzban calls the process a "faux election that will have lasting consequences for Haiti and the international community." Haitians know a charade is planned. Many will opt out, their choice in April 2009 to fill 12 open Senate seats that saw an estimated 3 - 5% turnout. Why bother now under dire conditions, Haiti stricken by earthquake destruction, little aid, and a deepening cholera epidemic taking dozens or more lives daily.
Concannon said Haiti's CEP never gave comprehensive reasons for excluding parties. For Fanmi Lavalas (FN), it mentioned only informal ones, "regarding a mandate sent by (Aristide) last November. In fact, (FN) presented an original mandate, authenticated by a Haitian notary that complies with Haitian law." Aristide followed up with a fax, "confirm(ing) its authenticity in a radio interview."
The International Crisis Group: Supporting Power, not People
Founded in 1995 by World Bank vice-president Mark Malloch Brown and former US diplomat Morton Abramowitz, it issued an October 27 report on Haiti's elections titled, "Haiti: The Stakes of the Post-Quake Elections," endorsing the flawed process, noting only that it's proceeding under daunting conditions.
"To boost confidence in the process," it said, a great deal must be done in a very short time. The CEP's actions need to be more open and those actions to be explained better to the parties and the electorate. The parties (not mentioning those excluded) should commit to a peaceful campaign and to acceptance of the eventual results, and they and their candidates should begin to articulate substantive platforms that address national problems."
"To stimulate turnout, voter and civic education about the process and the stakes should be intensified, particularly among IDPs....Once the elections are over and parallel to the new government's priority task of pushing reconstruction and sustainable development, a national consensus will be needed on electoral and political party reforms....But the urgent requirement is to succeed with the November elections."
The ICG doesn't hide its agenda, providing detailed recommendations about proceeding with a sham process. Crucial is "meet(ing a) tight electoral timetable," defrauding the electorate, urging "all political actors (support) the new government" so it can rebuild "the country's economic, physical and institutional infrastructure," one planned for profit, not poor Haitians to be exploited for maximum amounts.