In this op-ed, Congresswoman Frederica Wilson explains why Haiti’s 2015 elections are such a critical test for Haiti’s democracy and ability to self-govern. She ties the obstacles Haitian voters faced before and during the August 9th round of elections into the obstacles many American voters face with recent blows to the Voting Rights Act. Wilson contrasts the violence that was reported from observers on the ground with reports from international organizations like OAS, which claimed that the elections were “a step forward for Haitian democracy.” She emphasizes the need for the US to hold Haitian elections to the same standards that we hold our own and not settle for “good enough.”
Part of the article is below. Click HERE for the full text.
Haiti’s critical test — and ours
Frederica S. Wilson, Miami Herald
August 17, 2015
Haiti faced a critical test last week when voters headed to the polls to cast ballots for the men and women who will serve in the next Parliament. The election, three years overdue, was the first of three to be held by December and will measure the nation’s ability to hold fair and transparent elections and self-govern.
In this first round, more than 1,800 candidates vied for approximately 130 seats, which in itself is extremely problematic. During the inevitable October runoffs, voters will also cast ballots to elect a new president from yet another overcrowded field of more than 50 candidates.
Its current head of state, President Michel Martelly, has governed by decree since January, when the last Parliament coincidentally dissolved on the fifth anniversary of the 2010 earthquake that killed 200,000 people. Without the same checks and balances that most democracies enjoy and not enough lawmakers to even form a quorum, Martelly has been unable to achieve much in the past eight months.
Click HERE for the full text.