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Date: Wed, 5 Jul 1995 20:28:53 -0700 (PDT)
From: Bob Corbett <bcorbett@crl.com>
Subject: This Week in Haiti 13:15 07/05/95
Message-Id: <Pine.SUN.3.91.950705202829.26756A-100000@crl11.crl.com>

---------- Forwarded message ----------
Date: Wed, 5 Jul 1995 22:19:36 -0400 (EDT)
From: NY Transfer News Collective <nyt@nyxfer.blythe.org>
To: transfr!cari@crl11.crl.com, nica news <transfr!nicanews@crl11.crl.com>
Subject: This Week in Haiti 13:15 07/05/95

Via NY Transfer News Collective * All the News that Doesn't Fit

Election deal elusive

Haiti Progress, This Week in Haiti,
Vol. 13, no. 15, 5 - 11 July 1995

Trying to salvage something from the disastrously botched June 25 local and parliamentary vote, President Jean-Bertrand Aristide moved this week to broker some kind of deal between his Lavalas Political Platform (PPL) and Haiti's other traditional political parties. The PPL stands to win big in the occupation elections, but a series of meetings at the National Palace and Aristide's private residence in Tabarre seem to have placated none of its rivals, who now reject the balloting.

On July 3, the National Front for Change and Democracy (FNCD), headed by Port-au-Prince mayor Evans Paul, called for the annulment of the vote characterized by irregularities, abuses of power, violence, unjustified pressure and constraints, administrative shortcomings, and all sorts of fraud and proposed the organization of a real and open national dialogue without specifying anything concrete.

The National Congress of Democratic Movements (KONAKOM) called the voting a coup d'etat by the Lavalas, but stopped short, so far, of calling for an annulment.

We [ask] for the nullification of the elections and the recomposition of the electoral council responsible for the nationwide electoral fiasco, said Serge Gilles, the head of the National Progressive Revolutionary Party (PANPRA), one of the more well-known pro-putschist formations.

While the hypocrisy of such corrupt traditional political parties is clear to all, so is the growing evidence that the elections were a big hoax. The list of even officially-recognized irregularities is long, from voting booths being burned down to candidates and voters names not being properly registered. Even the elections' sponsor -- the US government -- is having trouble keeping a straight face. I think (the political situation) is definitely in a state of flux, US Embassy spokesperson Stanley Schrager said this week in a stroke of understatement.

Reflecting this state of flux is the delay in announcing the actual results. The Provisional Electoral Council (CEP) announced this week that the vote would not be officially released until July 8, nearly two weeks after the ballot. Presumably, this was to allow for more negotiating time between the PPL, the FNCD, PANPRA, and KONAKOM, as well as micro parties.

The PPL is trying to minimize the electoral mess, even saying it hurt them more than anybody. If we are victorious everywhere, it's not because of machinations. On the contrary, we are its victims, said Chavannes Jean-Baptiste, the head of the Peasant Movement of Papaye (MPP) and one of the PPL leaders. Despite such declarations, the PPL has all but declared victory for most of the 2100 local and parliamentary positions.

Even though it tried to rally an even more right-wing coalition, the US now seems to be ready to use the PPL as the vehicle for its policies in Haiti. [Because] it is absolutely necessary to keep the masses under control, cool down their demands, and push them towards reconciliation, the Lavalas movement, called Bo Tab La (Around the Table after its emblem), with the full support of President Jean-Bertrand Aristide, was the better bet for the U.S. government, noted the bi-weekly Haiti Info. Aristide and the Lavalas sector are willing to accept the faulty process because they will come out with control of many of the country's political posts.

Still the most important feature of the elections was that voter turnout was abysmally low, even assuming that many could not vote because of irregularities. The National Popular Assembly (APN), which mobilized against participation in June 25 bogus elections, estimates that 70% of Haitians of voting age abstained from voting. Even Organization of American States (OAS) observers, who endorse the election, estimated that only 50% of registered voters actually voted (the CEP claims 90% of eligible voters, some 3.5 million people, registered to vote). If those figures are correct, then only some 1.75 million people voted in contrast to the 3 million people estimated to have voted in the Dec. 1990 presidential elections, which swept Aristide to power.