PORT-AU-PRINCE, Haiti (sentinel.ht) – Haiti’s long overdue elections were pushed back to November 20, 2016, announced the CEP, Friday, which also said the February 7, 2017, Constitutional inauguration of a new president could not be respected.
The Provisional Electoral Council (CEP) cancelled the October 9, 2016 elections following an assessment of the damage caused by Hurricane Matthew which crossed southwestern Haiti on October 2. After further review, the CEP set the first round of presidential and legislative elections November 20, 2016 and runoffs – for races necessary – for January 29, 2017.
CEP President Leopold Berlanger Jr said it would be impossible to respect the February 7, 2017, Constitutional date for the inauguration of the next elected president. However he ensured that final election results would be known before the end of February ’17.
Berlanger said Hurricane Matthew’s damaged to electoral infrastructure was considerable in the southwestern peninsula comprising of departments, Grand’Anse, Nippes and parts of Sud. Populations in these departments would be excluded if the contests were to be held he said.
Updated Campaign Schedule
CEP Executive Secretary, Uder Antoine, announced that candidates will have 15 days to campaign before the first round of the newly scheduled elections and 30 days before the second round.
Senate President Ronald Larèche expressed dissatifaction with the revised timetable and called for respect of the Constitution and the inauguration of a president on February 7.
“If you can not organize elections on the last Sunday of October as foreseen in the Constitution, why not at the beginning of November with a compressed electoral calendar,” Larèche said, adding “in some countries, elections are held even in wartime.”
The political advisor of the Haitian Tet Kale Party (PHTK), Guichard Doré, is also against the idea to organize the first round of elections late into November. Doré invited politicians to request a meeting with electoral authorities Friday to force them to revise the revamped schedule.
“Elections must take place on time for the inauguration of the elected president on February 7, 2017,” Doré said. He also evoked the ending mandates of the Parliament on the 2nd Monday of January 2017, the 9th.
The PHTK advisor claimed that the CEP is playing the game of interim President Jocelerme Privert, who would intend to make decisions in the absence of a parliament, he said, “for the sole purpose of distrupting the administration of the next elections indefinitely.”
On the other hand, presidential candidates, Jude Célestin, Jean-Charles Moïse and John Henry Céant favor the new electoral calendar, but all have noted in some form their regret that the Constitutional deadline of February 7 and the second Monday of January would likely not be respected.
Presidential candidate Maryse Narcisse did not give a position but said on Saturday it would be prepared to state it according to an official of the Fanmi Lavalas party.