May 19, 2019

Haiti election results delayed amid fraud fears

Michel Martelly might have won the presidency with a hefty majority but his party has mysteriously disappeared in the legislative elections.

Officials from the Haiti Provisional Electoral Council have delayed the certification of results from last month’s run-off legislative polls.

The Council said it would not publish 19 seats’ results “out of concern for transparency”, but did not say if there would be recount.

President-elect Michel Martelly has won only a handful of seats and there are concerns in the international diplomatic community over possible fraud.

The results gave the Unity Party, of President Rene Preval, 46 of the 99 seats in the Chamber of Deputies and an absolute majority in the Senate with 17 of 30 seats.

But on Monday, the head of the Provisional Electoral Council (CEP), Gaillot Dorsinvil announced that there would be a delay publishing the results of 19 legislative races.

Mr Dorsinvil said in a statement that the decision was “for the sake of transparency and in the best interests of the nation”.

He did not say if the CEP planned to order recounts, or give any details about the 19th seat – one more than diplomats had questioned.

The United Nations questioned why the results in several constituencies had been overturned, with all but two in favour of the Unity Party.

On Friday, the US embassy asked the legitimate question as to why one winning candidate from the incumbent Unity Party in one constituency had gone “from 90,000 in the preliminary results to more than 145,000 in the final results”.

President-elect Michel Martelly also urged the international community not to recognise the results of the legislative elections, saying they were “unacceptable and do not reflect the will of the people”.

Haiti politics is littered with coups, repression and corruption. There is no doubt some fraud has happened here, but in such a murky political pond it is unclear just who the “good guys” are.

The international community has a long history of backing the wrong horse in Haiti where justice and human rights are concerned.