Institute for Justice and Democracy in Haiti

Security a concern for Haiti’s April election

Security a concern for Haiti’s April election
Source: Reuters

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By Joseph Guyler Delva

PORT-AU-PRINCE, Haiti, April 4 (Reuters) – Elections officials pressed Haiti’s
interim government and U.N. peacekeepers on Tuesday to protect legislative
elections later this month from angry former candidates who have threatened to
disrupt them.

Electoral council president Max Mathurin said losing candidates could resort to
violence to protest their disqualification from the run-off on April 21.

“Some candidates and their supporters have already provoked a few violent
incidents in the Grande Anse and the Artibonite regions,” Mathurin said.

Haiti managed to hold a relatively peaceful first round of presidential and
legislative elections on Feb. 7, when voters went to the polls for the first
time since former president Jean-Bertrand Aristide was deposed more than two
years ago.

Another ex-president, former Aristide protege Rene Preval, won the presidential
vote. But most of the 99 seats in the Chamber of Deputies and all 30 Senate
seats are scheduled to be decided in balloting on April 21.

Several candidates who lost in the first round and challenged the final results
have said they will not allow voting to take place in their jurisdictions if
their names are not on the ballots.

“I’m still campaigning for the run-off and my name should be on the ballot. If
not, elections will be held anywhere but in my jurisdiction,” said Roselaure
Aubourg, a candidate for the Chamber of Deputies who did not qualify for the
run-off.

Some observers fear that frustration over controversial decisions on first-round
winners and losers might stir violence during the run-off.

It was not likely that any single party would reach the majority needed to
control parliament.

“Now that the president has been elected, the political interests at stake
during the legislative vote are huge,” said Mathurin.

Damian Onses-Cardona, spokesman for the U.N. peacekeeping mission in Haiti, said
U.N. troops were working with Haitian police to assess security and determine
where more attention should be given.

“Any additional measures would be announced at a time closer to the vote,”
Onses-Cardona said.

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