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Identifier
Created
Classification
Origin
05PORTAUPRINCE2869
2005-11-22 13:20:00
UNCLASSIFIED
Embassy Port Au Prince
Cable title:  

HAITI ELECTIONS: "SE PA FOT MWEN" - IT,S NOT MY

Tags:   PGOV  PREL  KDEM  HA 
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This record is a partial extract of the original cable. The full text of the original cable is not available.
						UNCLAS SECTION 01 OF 02 PORT AU PRINCE 002869 

SIPDIS

STATE FOR WHA/CAR
DRL
S/CRS
SOUTHCOM ALSO FOR POLAD
STATE PASS AID FOR LAC/CAR
INR/IAA (BEN-YEHUDA)

E.O. 12958: N/A
TAGS: PGOV PREL KDEM HA
SUBJECT: HAITI ELECTIONS: "SE PA FOT MWEN" - IT,S NOT MY
FAULT


UNCLAS SECTION 01 OF 02 PORT AU PRINCE 002869

SIPDIS

STATE FOR WHA/CAR
DRL
S/CRS
SOUTHCOM ALSO FOR POLAD
STATE PASS AID FOR LAC/CAR
INR/IAA (BEN-YEHUDA)

E.O. 12958: N/A
TAGS: PGOV PREL KDEM HA
SUBJECT: HAITI ELECTIONS: "SE PA FOT MWEN" - IT,S NOT MY
FAULT



1. Summary: In a meeting with Charge Griffiths November 19,
newly appointed Provisional Electoral Council (CEP) Director
General Jacques Bernard lamented the failure of the would-be
elections organizers: MINUSTAH, the OAS and the CEP. While
the technical shortcomings at the CEP, MINUSTAH and the OAS
were more profound than he initially expected, a first round
on December 27 was still technically possible; but political
infighting clouded the outlook. According to Bernard,
sidelining the CEP and perhaps even replacing its members is
the only way to guarantee a February 7, 2006 inauguration.
However, political fallout from sidelining or replacing the
current CEP members could exacerbate election delays in the
short run. End Summary

"Se Pa Fot Mwen" - It's Not My Fault
--------------


2. Provisional Electoral Council Director General Jacques
Bernard said in a November 19 meeting with the Charge that
MINUSTAH, the CEP and the OAS have all failed in their
mandate to organize elections. All three finger point when
confronted with their failings and shirk responsibility by
tasking each other. For example, though the OAS has not been
prepared to distribute cards, it has focused attention away
from its own shortcomings by complaining that MINUSTAH's
failure to pick voting centers has held up distribution. At
the same time, MINUSTAH has complained that the OAS has not
finalized the voter list, which MINUSTAH needed to choose the
voting centers. Meanwhile, the CEP, which passed choosing
the centers to MINUSTAH because of its own failings,
complained that some MINUSTAH-chosen centers did not have
sufficient capacity to handle the voters assigned to them.

December 27, February 7 Technically Possible
--------------


3. Despite the failings of the three partners, Bernard
insisted that a first round December 27 leading to a power
transition February 7 remains technically possible. MINUSTAH
elections chief Gerardo LeChevallier originally projected
that once the candidate lists were finalized, MINUSTAH would
need five weeks to organize elections. His team has

developed training and organizational plans that if
implemented immediately and not held up by any unforeseen
problems would lead to elections December 27.

Machinations Wildcard Makes December 27 Unlikely
-------------- ---


4. Though December 27 remains technically possible, Bernard
questioned the political will for timely elections inside and
outside of the CEP and said the likelihood of meddling in the
electoral process increased the probability of unforeseen
problems and more delays. Bernard questioned the will of CEP
members Pierre Richard Duchemin, Patrick Fequiere and Gerson
Richeme and said all three had engaged in tactics to delay
and de-legitimize elections. Duchemin, for example, insisted
that instead of attaching a sticker to each voter's ID card
telling them where to vote, workers distributing the cards
should write the location on the back of voters,
registration receipts. Not only would Duchemin's solution
increase the time to distribute cards, it would require
voters to keep their ID and registration receipt in order to
vote and increase the likelihood of confusion on election
day. Bernard also wondered about the will outside of the CEP
for elections. He said the Haitian firm producing the ballot
artwork, which had been working diligently November 14 - 17,
completely shut down for the Haitian holiday on November 18,
when they would have finished the ballot. Bernard posited
that only a high-level order from a powerful person trying to
delay elections could have convinced them to stop work.

New Bylaws are a Must, Firing CEP Could Help Too
-------------- --------------


5. Bernard said he must be given executive authority over
elections administration and the CEP board members must be
eliminated from the process either through new bylaws or
possibly by dissolving the board. The PM promised Bernard
new bylaws by electoral decree November 14, but the new
bylaws have not been promulgated. (Note: The PM on November
21 gave diplomats copies of the decree text which was marked
with a hand written note indicating that the decree was
published in the November 16 edition of the Moniteur, the
official government newspaper. However, according to a
source at the Moniteur the new bylaws and a decree finalizing
political party financing would be in the November 24
Moniteur but the IGOH has delayed the edition because it does
not have the money to fund party financing. End Note)
Bernard said replacing the current CEP would also help
expedite electoral preparations, though such a move would
have to come from the political parties and the Council of
Eminent Persons.


6. Comment: The CEP,s role creating election delays and the
difficulty pinpointing the source of the delays outside the
CEP makes removing the members from the process an
interesting proposition. However, broad concern about a
Preval presidency has galvanized other groups to seek a delay
in elections, and eliminating the CEP could prove
insufficient to unblock the process. Further, removing the
CEP could provoke a backlash from Duchemin, Fequiere, and
Richeme. Duchemin told Poloff November 16 he would respond
to any effort to sideline him by publicly highlighting flaws
in the electoral process. End Comment.


CARNEY