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13 Mars 2016, 08:36am

Publié par haiti-refondation-org

Photo - Dieu Nalio Chery AP

Photo - Dieu Nalio Chery AP

Trop souvent, ils ignorent leur mission qui est de travailler pour le bien commun.

Le gouvernement intérimaire ne devrait pas être autorisé à prolonger son mandat qui est d'organiser les élections.

La communauté internationale doit faire pression sur ces politiciens pour aider Haïti à sortir du cycle de la dépendance. - MIAMI HERALD


March 12, 2016


Despite decades of engagement by the United States, the United Nations and international donors in Haiti, a democratically elected and accountable government has eluded that country for most of the last 30 years. Although Haitians have a right to expect their government to serve the common good, too many powerful Haitians prefer old-style politics in which street violence can derail democracy.

Unless the international community takes a stronger hand, Haiti will never break out of the cycle of dependency that has made it a burden for its neighbors.

Merely seating a parliament or electing a president can be an ordeal in Haiti. Although its constitution features a parliamentary form of government, history and culture have favored a powerful president. Those periods in which a president has worked constructively with an effective prime minister have been the exception rather than the rule. Most presidents have preferred to work around the parliament rather than work with it.

Under President Michel Martelly (2011-15) — who had to literally rebuild the country after the devastating earthquake of 2010 — the government struggled to even conduct elections for the national legislature, leaving Martelly to rule by decree for the last year of his term. In that period, Martelly’s political opponents grew deeply suspicious that his family members and political cronies were conspiring to hold on to power.

At a critical time last year, U.S. Sen. Marco Rubio led a bipartisan group in the U.S. Congress calling for fair and transparent elections, pressing the State Department to keep the electoral process on the level and on schedule. As a result, Martelly had little choice but to convene elections last October to elect his successor as well as members of the 119-member Chamber of Deputies and 30-member Senate.

The Organization of American States (OAS) mission and other independent observers pronounced that first round of presidential and parliamentary elections to be reasonably fair, seeing no pattern of fraud benefiting any particular party.

The electoral council announced that presidential candidates Jovenel Moïse, of Martelly’s Tèt Kale party, and Jude Célestin, of the opposition INITE party, to be the top vote-getters who would compete in a second round.

A group of minor presidential candidates, most of whom received a relative handful of votes, leveled broad accusations of fraud. Backed up by street violence and joined by Célestin, this group took the electoral process hostage. An independent review of the process found no wholesale fraud and the electoral council accepted recommendations for improving the runoff, which was rescheduled for Jan. 24. However, as the date approached, opposition marches grew in intensity and violence. The electoral council surprised U.S. and U.N. observers by suspending the scheduled vote. Because Martelly was scheduled to step down two weeks later, the country would be left without a president.

The situation grew more chaotic amid speculation that Martelly would take advantage of the impasse to extend his term, which would confirm the opposition’s worst suspicions. Eventually, his departure on Feb. 7 was key to resolving the impasse. The following week, opposition parties agreed to form a government under an interim president and prime minister, which would complete the election cycle next month. Already the interim government is fueling speculation that it may drag out the election calendar to prolong its hold on power.

The American taxpayers deserve to know why a critical elections process, in which $33 million U.S. tax dollars were invested, was scuttled by a small band of politicians. Although Rubio is the midst of a presidential campaign, he can press for answers. When will the runoff be held? Whose hidden hands were behind the political violence, and what consequences will they face? Now that INITE has secured the interim presidency, how will the U.S. government and others react if it seeks to hold on to power beyond April?

Haiti will never progress until its politicians act responsibly to create a stable environment in which honest commerce can flourish to create jobs for hard-working Haitians. The international community has spent billions to help the country in recent decades. A constructive role to hold politicians accountable is what is needed most today.

Roger F. Noriega a occupé de hautes fonctions dans l'administration de George W. Bush 2001-05. Il est chercheur invité à l'American Enterprise Institute.

Roger F. Noriega held senior positions in the George W. Bush administration from 2001-05. He is a visiting fellow at the American Enterprise Institute.



Commenter cet article

jean sebastien roy 13/03/2016 12:18

Mr Noriega should no better than to oversimplify any international socio-political situation . In the case of Haiti, he did not mention that the Martelly government was accused almost from the very beginning of wide spread corruption, including by imposing an illegal tax on remittances which are sent mostly by american-haitians to their families back home every month. President Martelly published an amendment to the Constitution which was widely decried as having being fraudulently adopted, and which broadened and increased Executive power over the Legislative, amongst others. Legislative and municipal elections were over three years late, during which time Martelly named croonies throughout the country and ruled through executive fiat. He changed the law on political parties, enabling them to get legal recognition with only 20 signatures instead of 5000, which had the expected result of a mushrooming of the numbers of parties, mostly affiliated to his new "tet kale" party (thus splintering opposition votes). When the Legislative and Presidential electoral process finally got underway in 2015, he put the full weight of the State apparatus and funding behind his appointed successor, Mr. Moise. The first round of the Legislative elections in August 2015 were marred by widespread voter intimidation and violence, with an estimated of less than 15 % of votes being counted. While more outwardly peaceful, the first round of the Presidential and second round of the Legislative elections were depply contested, with accusations of irregularities and fraud occuring throughout the country. It is true than an initial evaluation of some 5 % of ballots did not find conclusive proof of widespread fraud. But the electoral commission did admit to widespread irregularites tainting over 85% of the vote, and did recommend a more in-depth analysis, which never came. It is no surprise that opposition parties have refused to go forward with the elections in this context, It is no surprise either that the majority of the members of the Electoral Commission have resigned. President Martelly is responsible for leading Haiti into this political crisis. The United States, along with the rest of the international community, should help Haiti resolve this complex crisis, not make it worse by blindly demanding that the country proceed with a deeply flawed electoral process, which will never lead to the political stability and legitimacy Haiti so badly needs.