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Haiti's Electoral Council Tries Alternate Ways to Legitimize Fraud
Tuesday, 14 December 2010
The combination of mass protests, violence, public embarrassment, and rare dominant media indignation dictate something be done to resolve things.
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:
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:
The Electoral Act's Section 40.1 (1) permits a runoff possibility with more than two candidates, stating:
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.
Preval merely followed orders, what O'Grady won't admit, even while criticizing Arturo Valenzuela, Assistant Secretary of State for Western Hemisphere Affairs, AWOL in Honduras on other business, not in Port-au-Prince where she wants him, resolving the electoral crisis before it spins more out-of-control than already.
Nonetheless, she described a selection, not an electoral process for Jude Celestin (Preval's choice) and ruling INITE party legislative control. He made the runoff, finishing second while INITE candidates won a two-thirds parliamentary majority in first round balloting, angering even O'Grady by their brazen fraud.
A Final Comment
So far, two of top three presidential candidates, Mirlande Manigat, finishing first, and Michel Martelly, third best (both establishment figures) rejected the proposed recount. Others denounced the process, most demanding new elections.
Then on December 11, former Alaska governor, vice presidential candidate, and caricature of a political leader, Sarah Palin, arrived in Port-au-Prince with evangelist Franklin Graham (a pro-war, Islamophobe hatemonger) on a bogus humanitarian mission. Likely, it was a presidential aspirant's campaign stunt, one unqualified for any public office let alone the nation's highest. AP said her "trip was largely closed to the press and she declined to take questions at (a carefully orchestrated) news conference."
So far, Haiti's political crisis is unresolved. Sporadic violence continues. Greater eruptions may resume anytime. Raging cholera keeps spreading. Aid for stricken earthquake victims remains woefully inadequate, and Preval's CEP opened a hearing, inviting disgruntled candidates to appeal, trying to restore calm.
A joint US, France, Canada, Brazil, Germany, Spain, UN, EU and OAS statement "encourage(d) the use of all legal avenues to advance a credible electoral process to ensure that the final results fully reflect the will of the Haitian voters," stopping well short of condemning electoral fraud, demanding first round balloting be voided, and calling for new elections as soon as possible.
On December 12, AP reported that US deportations to Haiti will resume, saying:
US Senator Patrick Leahy (D. VT) wants Haitian aid halted and visas for officials and their families suspended until a credible settlement is reached, or at least the appearance of one. Senator Richard Lugar (R. IN) blamed Preval for poor organization. Haitians demand justice, what Washington and world leaders refuse, manipulating events for some discrete solution, benefitting them, not popular need under real democratic governance.
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Mr. Lendman's stories are republished in the Baltimore Chronicle with permission of the author.
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Baltimore News Network, Inc., sponsor of this web site, is a nonprofit organization and does not make political endorsements. The opinions expressed in stories posted on this web site are the authors' own.This story was published on December 14, 2010.