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Identifier
Created
Classification
Origin
05PORTAUPRINCE2690
2005-11-03 18:59:00
UNCLASSIFIED//FOR OFFICIAL USE ONLY
Embassy Port Au Prince
Cable title:  

HAITI ELECTIONS: PROGRESS TOWARD FIRST ROUND ON

Tags:   PGOV  PREL  HA 
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						UNCLAS SECTION 01 OF 02 PORT AU PRINCE 002690 

SIPDIS

SENSITIVE

SOUTHCOM ALSO FOR POLAD
WHA ALSO FOR USOAS
STATE FOR S/CRS

E.O. 12958: N/A
TAGS: PGOV PREL HA
SUBJECT: HAITI ELECTIONS: PROGRESS TOWARD FIRST ROUND ON
DECEMBER 18

REF: PORT-AU-PRINCE 2667



1. This message is sensitive but unclassified -- protect
accordingly.



2. (SBU) Summary: The Interim Government of Haiti (IGOH) on
October 28 promulgated amendments to electoral decrees that
reduce the time necessary to prepare for national elections
and preserve the possibility of holding the first round on
December 18. The Provisional Electoral Council (CEP)
published the provisional list of parliamentary candidates on
October 31. CEP Director General Jacques Bernard is also
working closely with MINUSTAH to create additional
efficiencies and thus save more time. Bernard reported to
Charge Carney on November 3 that the PM had assured him that
the State Commission on the Nationality of Candidates (CENC)
would officially notify the CEP that Dumarsais Simeus and
Samir Mourra are ineligible to contest the presidency. With
this notification in hand, the CEP was prepared to exclude
them and publish the final list of presidential candidates on
November 4. In that event, Simeus and Mourra will likely
lodge a challenge to the constitutionality of the CENC with
the Supreme Court. Simeus and Mourra would also likely
appeal their exclusion from the presidential candidates list
to the CEP. End Summary.

Gaining Time in the Electoral Calendar


--------------------------





3. (U) The October 28 changes remove the Supreme Court from
the elections appeals process. This step reduces the time
for election contestations to nine days by making the CEP the
last instance of appeal for all elections contestations and
opened the way for the CEP to publish the lists of
parliamentary candidates. The international community, led
by SRSG Valdes, pushed the IGOH to take this step, including
it in its ten necessary actions drafted in September in order
to ensure successful elections. Regional Electoral Office
(BED) officials posted those lists on October 31. According
to the new decree, candidates left off the provisional lists
have three days to appeal to either the communal offices
(BECs) or BEDs, which must make a decision within three days.
The CEP is the final recourse for candidates to appeal
BEC/BED rulings; candidates have one day to contest a BEC/BED
decision and the CEP has two days in which to make a final
ruling.



4. (U) The new amendments also shorten the time-frame for
parties and candidates to contest elections results from
three days to one. This change eliminates two days between
the close of voting and the certification of elections
results after each round, a timesaving that will be critical
between the first and second round of national elections.
MINUSTAH elections chief LeChevallier and Bernard are also

preparing to expedite rulings on candidate contestations.
Bernard told Poloff he would ensure the CEP treats candidate
appeals quickly by convening the three-member CEP appeals
panels immediately once appeals reach the CEP. (Note:
Previous delays in ruling on contestations to the
presidential list stemmed largely from their tardy treatment
by the CEP. End Note.)



5. (U) The government also published on October 28 a
presidential order containing the already out-of-date
electoral calendar, calling for national elections on
November 20, local elections on December 11, and the second
round of national elections on January 3. Per Reftel, the
IGOH, MINUSTAH, the CEP, and the OAS consider December 18 the
first feasible date for national elections, and January 29 as
the first possible date for a second round. By taking the
necessary legal step of convening elections, however, this
order should allow the government to quickly establish final
election dates by amendment.

New By-Laws Put Bernard Formally in Charge


--------------------------





6. (SBU) According to Bernard, the Cabinet approved on
October 29 new by-laws for the CEP that enhance Bernard's
authority and limit the support committee's role, despite
protests by support committee chairperson Danielle Magloire
and member Minister of Culture Magali Comeau Denis. The
endorsement of Bernard by the IGOH also isolates CEP member
Pierre- Richard Duchemin, who continues to fight to maintain
his own authority and for a prominent role for the support
committee. The CEP must, but has not yet formally adopted
the new by-laws, but Bernard reports that he has the solid
support of six of the nine CEP members, including CEP
President Mathurin. With this support, he has the ability to
move on actions demanding immediate attention.

Final Presidential List Pending


--------------------------





7. (SBU) Bernard confirmed to the Charge on November 3 that
he is still waiting for formal findings from the CENC before
the CEP publishes the final list of presidential candidates.
He later reported that the Prime Minister would ensure that
today, November 3, the CENC would provide the CEP written
notification that Simeus and Mourra were not eligible
presidential candidates. With this notification in hand,
Bernard reported that the CEP would publish the final
presidential list without Simeus and Mourra on November 4.
(NOTE: The PM also reportedly told Bernard that the
government had published the decree establishing the CENC
&some time ago.8 A post contact at the Monitor, the
official government register, subsequently reported that the
decree had appeared &over the weekend.8 Post is in the
process of confirming this information and obtaining this
issue of the Monitor. End Note)

Comment


--------------------------





8. (SBU) Bernard has in large measure succeeded so far: as a
result of his efforts December 18 remains a viable date for
the first round, and the IGOH and the CEP have managed to
meet critical deadlines. Every day remains crucial, however,
and the IGOH must continue to back Bernard. If the IGOH and
the CEP follow through with their intention to exclude Simeus
and Mourra from the final presidential list, the dispute will
move into the legal realm. Both Simeus and Mourra have told
Polcouns that they will challenge the constitutionality of
the CENC in the Supreme Court.
CARNEY