|05PORTAUPRINCE2617||2005-10-21 16:28:00||CONFIDENTIAL||Embassy Port Au Prince|
This record is a partial extract of the original cable. The full text of the original cable is not available.
C O N F I D E N T I A L PORT AU PRINCE 002617
1. (C) Minister of Justice Henri Dorleans told the Charge
October 18 that the newly formed "Commission on Nationality"
(reftel) would not delay the elections. Dorleans, who heads
the group, explained that the commission was established by
the IGOH to examine the nationality of all candidates for
office and provide the information to the members of the CEP.
The commission does not have the authority to render any
decisions regarding the candidates, he said. The mandate is
only to provide information to the CEP and allow the CEP to
decide what to do with the information. The CEP maintains the
final decision regarding a candidate's eligibility, and the
CEP will pursue its mission to organize and carry out
elections regardless of when the commission completes its
investigations. He added that it was conceivable that a
candidate who is on the ballot and elected by majority vote
might be disqualified after the fact by the CEP based on the
commission's findings. (Note: The Elections Decree mandates
another election if candidates are disqualified after they
are elected. End note).
2. (C) Dorleans noted that the IGOH had passed the decree
taking the Supreme Court out of the appeals process so that
the CEP's decisions were now final. (Note: The IGOH has not
printed the decree, which means it is not yet law. End note).
He pulled out a copy of the Haitian constitution and quoted
Article 197: "The (CEP) shall rule on all disputes arising
either in elections or in enforcement or the violation of the
elections law." Although he professed to prefer the concept
of judicial review in all cases, he said the Supreme Court
role in the elections was not practical, and in any case, not
mandated by the constitution. These judicial limitations
notwithstanding, in reference to current maneuvers by the CEP
to re-examine the eligibility of Tet Ansamn Presidential
Candidate Dumarsais Simeus, the MOJ said the CEP has the
power to send any registration to the courts for a decision
if a candidate is found to have lied on the application.
(Note: The CEP sent a complaint to the Supreme Court October
19 alleging that Simeus had falsely claimed citizenship,
property ownership and residency. End note).
3. (C) Comment: Whatever actions the "Commission on
Nationality" may ultimately take, it has injected
considerable uncertainty into the elections by pressuring the
CEP to render candidates ineligible before the vote or
possibly nullify the results after the elections. The parties
themselves have previously agreed to respect the outcome of
the ballot in their "governability pact," but the IGOH has
now opened the door to a campaign based on accusations rather
than issues. The CEP has written to candidates reportedly
asking for the birth certificates of both parents (the
constitution requires that one parent be Haitian).
Separately, the CEP is reportedly seeking information on
candidates' past residency abroad. Post will provide a more
thorough analysis of potential problems arising from the
dispute over dual nationality generally and Mr. Simeus'
candidacy specifically in septel. End comment.