PORT-AU-PRINCE, Haiti (sentinel.ht) – The U.S. Ambassador on Friday questioned whether candidates of the November 20, 2016 elections would accept the definitive results expected to be released at the end of December. Ambassador Peter F. Mulrean spoke during the annual Christmas cocktail organized at the ambassador’s residence by the American Chamber of Commerce of Haiti where he also questioned the ability of a new administration to address the needs of its population.
— U.S. Embassy Haiti (@USEmbassyHaiti) December 16, 2016
The 2016 elections are being contested, notably at the presidential level, and are currently in the midst of a process of being heard by Haiti’s National Bureau of Electoral Disputes (BCEN), that did not stop Mr. Mulrean from adding to his question that “the results of this [electoral] process are recognized by all national and international observers as credible and greatly improved in relation to the 2015 contests.”
The 2016 elections are a do-over of the 2015 elections that were marred by widespread violence and massive fraud that tainted more than 92% of the election’s tally sheets. International observers, including Ambassador Mulrean, had called those elections acceptable, if not credible, at the time. Street mobilizations indicated the Haitian people had disagreed which brought that process to a halt.
None the less, Mr. Mulrean took to criticize “political actors that are using the streets to sow fear, weaken the democratic process, and prevent the Haitian people from the conditions needed to enjoy the holidays in peace.” He said that “2016 was a year of political uncertainty, economic stagnation and natural disaster. The events of 2016 show the magnitude of challenges that Haiti will have to face in 2017.”
The annual posh gathering included the “who’s who” in Haiti. It is attended by U.S. dignitaries, top Haitian government officials, including the president and first lady, as well as the country’s elite, industry proprietors and importers. Also in attendance was the presumptive President-elect Jovenel Moise and his wife and former Senator Moise Jean-Charles, a presidential candidate contesting the results.
Notwithstanding the concerns for an end, let alone, peaceful end to the electoral cycle, Ambassador Mulrean also questioned whether “the new government and Parliament would have the wisdom to work together to advance laws and programs that meet the real needs of the people.”