The European Union has decided to withdraw from the Election Observation Mission in Haiti, highlighting rocky relations between Haiti and its international observers. The EU has been criticized for saying things were running smoothly in Haiti, when local populations report the exact opposite. In light of elections marred by irregularities and fraud, the EU has still insisted upon the validity and legitimacy of the elections. There is also concern over the lack of transparency in the mission, as well as the failure to watchful eye on previous president Martelly and his abuse of democracy in Haiti.
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The European Union and Haiti: Everyday Neocolonialism?
Frédéric Thomas The Haiti Support Group
July 5th, 2016
On Wednesday June 8, following a report by the Independent Electoral Evaluation Commission (CIEVE), the EU announced that it was to end its Election Observation Mission in Haiti. In light of accusations of irregularities and fraud that have tarnished the elections, the Commission effectively called for the first round of presidential elections to be cancelled and for the electoral process to be resumed. This position is in direct conflict with the EU’s own conclusions. The withdrawal of its Observation Mission highlights the gaps and contradictions that have emerged since the elections.
RETURN TO THE ELECTORAL PROCESS
During legislative elections on 9 August 2015, Elena Valenciano, head of the Election Observation Mission for the EU, maintained that in spite of difficulties and some incidents that may have “at times [been] violent”, the elections were nonetheless “an essential step towards a stronger democracy.” This optimism displayed by the EU contrasted with harsh criticism already evoked by Haitian organisations who deemed recent events an “electoral fiasco “.
According to both Haitian and international observers, the October 25 presidential elections could have gone better. The EU, however, took a much more positive position, stating that this was “a decisive period for political renewal, institutional stability and the consolidation of democracy in Haiti.” Yet very quickly, signs of mass fraud emerged. Official results placing Jovenel Moïse as the likely successor to Michel Martelly (still president at the time) ahead of Jude Célestin were largely rejected, including by Célestin. He then refused to attend the second round which for many was a clear sign of an electoral farce.
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