Haiti election commission under scrutiny for ties to President René Préval
Haiti holds its first presidential debate Saturday, even as President René Préval's ties to the election commission has observers asking whether the CEP rejected candidates based on politics.
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Along with Senator Latortue, who is a political rival to the current president but has not backed anyone in the current election cycle, former government spokesperson and political blogger Jean-Junior Joseph claims that three sources close to the president confirmed that Préval ordered CEP Director Gaillot Dorsinvil to bar at least one presidential hopeful. Mr. Joseph claims the CEP originally had a list of 23 approved candidates, which Préval cut to 19.Skip to next paragraph
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“I did hear that a first list came out which said I was approved, then another list came out and I wasn't on it,” the former ambassador told the Monitor. “I don’t think the international community should condone such arbitrary acts and I don't think they should finance it."
The CEP said it rejected Ambassador Joseph’s candidacy on grounds he lacked a “Certificat Provisoire de Decharge,” which is a state-issued certificate of fiscal accountability. But Joseph showed the Monitor the state-signed document declaring that “no irregularities of management” were found in his accounting.
In a recent op-ed, Joseph wrote that the CEP's "decision appears blatantly arbitrary, without legal grounding, and motivated by the political agendas of a small ruling elite."
His rejection is also notable because CEP member Ginette Cherubin said she was uncomfortable with the point that derailed his candidacy, and for that reason refused to sign the final list of approved candidates.
“I didn’t sign because I’m not comfortable with the way the analysis of the candidate dossier has been done, particularly concerning the question of décharge,” she said in an email response to questions, calling her decision a matter of “principles” and “convictions.”
Ms. Cherubin was aware of the Aug. 16 meeting between Préval and several CEP members, though she says she was not present.
CEP spokesperson Pierre Thibaut says he is unaware of the Aug. 16 meeting, but that “the CEP can meet with any members of the government at any time.”
CEP ignores US call for inclusion of Fanmi Lavalas
The CEP excluded 14 political parties from parliamentary elections and seven political parties from presidential elections, including Fanmi Lavalas, the popular party of former President Jean Bertrand Aristide. Reasons given for its exclusion do not “pass the smell test under Haitian law,” says Mr. Concannon at IJDH.
The CEP previously banned leftist party Fanmi Lavalas from senatorial elections in 2009, despite appeals from the United Nations and the Organization of American States (OAS) for the CEP to reverse its decision. Fanmi Lavalas has won with wide margins in every election in which it participated, a recent IJDH report pointed out, including 90 percent of seats in 2000 parliamentary elections.