Tuesday, December 12, 2017
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Poorest kept from voting as CEP Opont gives final results

Samuel Maxime

Editor-in-Chief

Story Highlights

  • Candidates separated by a few thousand votes were eliminated
  • Communities of hundreds of thousands, the largest, did not vote
  • CEP says it will retake the vote, but has released final results

PORT-AU-PRINCE, Haiti (sentinel.ht) – The poorest and most disenfranchised communities in Haiti were unable to vote on August 9, 2015 but still, the Provisional Electoral Council of Pierre Louis Opont published final results without the voices of populous areas which could have changed results.

Across the nation, the story was the same, but in the West Department, the shear injustice of the CEP’s actions can been seen. The results released on Monday gave former government commissioner, Jean Renel Senatus, a victory in the first round with 101,000 votes for one of the two Senate seats representing the department.

It deserves saying that The Sentinel believes the votes attributed to Senatus to be inflated, notwithstanding the modest popularity gained by Senatus and his title “Commissioner Zokiki”. But the second, third and fourth placed candidates in the race were recorded as having 51,000, 24,000 and 21,000, votes respectively. The second place candidate is a very popular and well traveled musician, Antonio “Don Kato” Cheramy.

Muraille Jean Myrtho eliminated

Because one senate seat was given to Senatus, the second and third place candidates, both under the banner of former President Rene Preval’s Verite party, were allowed to continue on to a second round run-off. The candidate for Pitit Dessalines, Muraille “Jericho” Jean Myrtho, who came in fourth in those preliminary results was eliminate from the competition.

Here is where a crime against the voters, the candidate, and possibly all candidates, emerge.

Six circumscriptions, particularly the poorest communities in Haiti, such as Cite Soleil, were not allowed to cast votes. Although the CEP says elections in these areas would be redone on October 25, 2015, it has already declared the victors of the department’s senate race without those voices.

Cite Soleil, Carrefour, both poor communities, both among the six who did not vote, have the largest populations of all communes in the department. Cite Soleil has a population estimated at 400,000 and Carrefour, about 350,000.

Elections in these circumscriptions could reasonably swing the race in several different ways that could affect not only the top four candidates, but also the 5th, 6th, 7th, all the way to the 10th candidate.

An Undemocratic Electoral Process

The electoral process underway by the CEP of Pierre Louis Opont and financed by U.S. taxpayers is being contested in Haiti as many have called for the resignation of the electoral council.

In many instances, it has been witness that certain policies have applied to certain candidates, while not for others. As well, candidates have been eliminated since the onset of the preliminary electoral steps and voter intimidation, violence, vandalism and ballot stuffing has been met with lax response.

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About The Author

Samuel Maxime is a Haitian-born citizen living in the United States. He founded The Haiti Sentinel to bring Haitian issues to an English language audience.