Despite the widespread issues of violence, low voter turnout, and the unhappiness of many Haitians with the recent elections, international observers, including those of the OAS, have declared that the elections were sufficient and that no large problems were posed. However, based on the voting experiences of many Haitians and other observers, the elections were not simply “good enough.”
Part of the transcript is below. Click HERE for the full text and video.
Despite Violence, Low Voter Turnout, Int’l Community Calls Haitian Elections Good Enough
Jessica Desvarieux, Jake Johnston, and Francois Pierre-Louis, The Real News Network
August 11, 2015
JESSICA DESVARIEUX, PRODUCER, TRNN: Welcome to the Real News Network. I’m Jessica Desvarieux in Baltimore.
On Sunday, Haitians voted for the first time in four years in legislative elections. So think of this as the equivalent of U.S. Congressional elections. But Haiti’s parliament has not been in session since January after scheduled legislative elections in 2011 and 2014 were canceled, thereby leaving Haiti’s President Michel Martelly essentially ruling by decree.
Now joining us from Haiti’s capital Port-au-Prince to give us the perspective on the ground is Jake Johnston. He is a research associate at the Center for Economic and Policy Research, and he’s the lead blogger for Haiti Relief and Reconstruction Watch. Also joining us via phone from Haiti is Francois Pierre Louis. Francois is an associate professor of political science at Queens College in New York.
Thank you both for joining us.
JAKE JOHNSTON, RESEARCH ASSOCIATE, CEPR: Thanks for having us.
DESVARIEUX: So Jake, I’m going to start off with you.
FRANCOIS PIERRE LOUIS, ASSOC. PROF. OF POLITICAL SCIENCE, QUEENS COLLEGE: Thank you.
DESVARIEUX: Pleasure. So Jake, I want to start out with you. You’re on the ground, you were going to different polling stations. Many international reports highlight the lower voter turnout and the violence around, at certain polling stations during these elections.
Did you share the same experiences? And if so, do we have a sense of who is behind these disturbances?
JOHNSTON: Yeah, sure. So again, I was in the capital. I went to probably between a dozen and 15 polling centers throughout the day. It was a mixed bag. At some of the smaller ones things seemed to be going relatively smoothly. There were the problems many expected beforehand, people not being able to find their names on voter lists, material showing up late in some cases, polling stations opening up late. Problems with the ink, voting twice.
I think what the biggest issue was across the board was this issue with political party observers. It was announced just the day before the election that there would only be four allowed per voting booth and this caused a lot of tension, certainly in the morning. And again, at some polling centers, certainly in the area of Cite Soleil, there was quite a bit of violence and entire voting centers including the largest, the two largest in Cite Soleil, were both closed. One of them was ransacked by armed men who had showed up and just sort of littered the entire place with ballots.
Click HERE for the full transcript and video.