All around the Haitian community–including members of the diaspora, Haitian political candidates, Haiti’s Chamber of Commerce and people who care about Haiti–the consensus is that Haiti’s elections cannot proceed as they are going. President Martelly, his presidential candidate, and the international community, however, still continue to push for a January 24 election date. Haitians have taken to the streets daily to demand democratic, Haitian-led elections. Members of the international community are realizing the gravity of the situation. But will they listen?
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Haiti’s election crisis: How did we get to this point?
Nikolas Barry-Shaw, Boston Haitian Reporter
January 20, 2016
As this Sunday’s elections approach, Haiti is in the throes of a full-blown political crisis. Many Haitians are in open revolt against the electoral process, while the credibility of the Provisional Electoral Council (CEP) is in shambles and the legitimacy of the new parliament is in doubt. Second-place presidential candidate Jude Célestin has refused to campaign and is boycotting the runoff vote set for January 24, leaving government-backed candidate Jovenel Moise without an opponent going into the second round. The Martelly government and the CEP, however, have declared that the final round of elections will go forward, with or without Célestin.
The intransigence of the Martelly administration is due in large part to the unflinching support it has received from the U.S. government and its international allies. Echoing Haitian government statements, American diplomats in Haiti have repeatedly dismissed concerns about fraud and pressed for the electoral cycle to be completed. The State Department has provided $30 million in funding for the elections so far, and its envoys have played a key role in coordinating the international response to the electoral crisis.
Led by the United States, the European Union and the Organization of American States have enthusiastically and publicly endorsed the holding of elections on January 24 and called on both candidates to participate.
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