Haiti’s electoral board released last Wednesday the “final” results of the second round of the presidential and legislative elections. As expected the new president is Mr. Joseph Michel Martelly who is scheduled to swear-in on May 14. He will be the 56th president to lead the nation of Haiti since its independence in 1804.
The country may be headed, though, into another crisis as the international community and president-elect Mr. Martelly are crying foul over the results for one Senate and 18 seats in the lower chamber. Again, blame ultimately the international community for its lack of foresight in its ridiculously tough approach toward President René Préval and the provisional electoral council (CEP).
The CEP may have well inflated the votes for these 19 candidates of the ruling party Unity resulting in a slim majority in the Senate and close to a majority in the Chamber of Deputies for Rene Preval’s political outfit. This means that Unity – Inite in Haitian Creole – may have the needed leverage to impose its prime minister and the opportunity to form the next government. It’s clear, for whatever reasons, this looming scenario is not welcome by the international community and the president-elect, and they may be ready to bring their own brand of havoc into the current political equation – at the expense of the country and everything else.
Since the inception of the electoral period the CEP seems to be gun ho on favoring the Inite candidates. Whether they acted under the prodding of President Rene Preval or their ideological and selfish stand invites them to throw their lot with Inite, no one knows. However, something was clear: President Préval as the guarantor of the “bonne marche” of the country’s institutions appears never willing to dispel the favoritism clouds that have been hovering over the functioning of the CEP. To say that was unfortunate doesn’t nearly describe the high stakes politics that have been engulfing the country since the start of the electoral period.
Martelly’s decision to ask for an investigation over the results belies his misreading of the political situation insofar that this stand may have the opposite effect of what he really wants: a possible postponement of his May 14 swear-in ceremony. Mr. Martelly may benefit from not injecting himself into the current electoral morass but instead using every second to study the dossiers he’s expected to face in less than a month.
The international community may be playing with fire in inciting the local political actors to follow his lead in opposing some of the results of the second round. The international community may rightly feel this seeming electoral coup may be Rene Preval’s way of getting back at it for the latter’s rejection of his candidate Jude Celestin. However, this doesn’t justify the international’s forceful posture. The question is this: Why continuously defy a national institution’s decision (even if this institution has its flaws) at the risk of engendering further instability in the country and even compromising the amendment question when the international community can have a good chance to pick or have a say in the choice of the next prime minister even if Inite has a stronger share in both legislative chambers? I believe the reason behind this hardline stand may have everything to do with the international community’s abnormal obsession to humiliate René Préval and considerably weaken him and his Inite coalition in the months, years to come.
That may not be the best way to move forward. No one knows how this new regime with its old politicians of the extreme right (remnants of the Duvalier regime) and this new crop of “businessmen and Diaspora folks” (I am being generous here; shark may be the proper identifier) will govern. That political animal agitating in front of us has all the signs of Jean Claudism without Jean Claude. These folks may feel they have a mandate to do whatever they please – even if their share of the electorate is about 16%.
This is my point: the international community may in the near future need the “despised” Inite or Lavalas to create this political balance when or if the Martelly forces want to dance to the old beats of the old undemocratic music of political intolerance and corruption so dear to many of the new leaders. The onus is on them to prove us wrong.
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