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IdentifierCreatedClassificationOrigin
06PORTAUPRINCE718 2006-04-21 12:29:00 CONFIDENTIAL Embassy Port Au Prince
Cable title:  

HAITI ELECTIONS: ALL SET FOR SECOND ROUND

Tags:   PGOV PREL KDEM ASEC HA 
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FM AMEMBASSY PORT AU PRINCE
TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC IMMEDIATE 2863
INFO RUEATRS/DEPT OF TREASURY WASHDC PRIORITY
RUEHZH/HAITI COLLECTIVE
RUEHBR/AMEMBASSY BRASILIA 1014
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					  C O N F I D E N T I A L PORT AU PRINCE 000718 

SIPDIS

SIPDIS

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

E.O. 12958: DECL: 12/11/2010
TAGS: PGOV PREL KDEM ASEC HA
SUBJECT: HAITI ELECTIONS: ALL SET FOR SECOND ROUND

REF: PAUP 637 AND PREVIOUS

Classified By: Ambassador Janet A. Sanderson for reason 1.4(b).



1. (C) Summary. The Director General of Haiti's CEP,
Jacques Bernard, and MINUSTAH elections chief Gerardo
LeChevallier expressed confidence on April 18 that elections
preparations were in place and that the second round would
proceed smoothly on Friday, April 21. MINUSTAH military
leaders also announced that they had completed their
security preparations and assured the public of its safety on
election day. Campaign activity has increased in the past
few days, and President-elect Preval made a public appeal for
voter turnout at the airport on April 19 on his return from
Cuba. Voter turnout will likely fall significantly below
the 62% registered for the first round. L'Espwa will
probably emerge as the largest party in both parliamentary
chambers, though president elect Preval has deliberately
avoided a partisan tone in advance of the second round and
courted other party leaders. While we remain concerned about
the potential for isolated attempts to disrupt the electoral
stemming from local rivalries, we are confident that security
planners are well-prepared to respond. The successful
completion of the second round should allow for Preval's
timely inauguration and selection of a cabinet within a
conciliatory atmosphere. End Summary.

Preparations/Security in Place


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





2. (U) Looking relaxed and confident, both Bernard and
LeChevallier told Polcouns in separate conversations on April
18 that their teams were carrying out final preparations on
schedule and expressed confidence that electoral officials
were well prepared. They emphasized they had made great
efforts to analyze and implement lessons learned from the
first round (reftel), particularly in training poll workers
and fine tuning procedures at the counting center. Bernard
emphasized that with the first-round experience under their
belts, he had come to increasingly to rely on BED, BEC, and
other CEP personnel in the field, and as a result of better
first-hand reporting from the field, has greatly improved the
CEP administration throughout the country. LeChevallier
reported that the transfer of sensitive material throughout
the country was underway and on schedule, and that MINUSTAH
staff had performed several dry runs of accounting and
tabulation procedures that had gone smoothly. DG Bernard
went directly from his meeting with Polcouns to the office of
the Prime Minister to review final security preparations with
senior IGOH and MINUSTAH leaders. MINUSTAH's military
commander later publicly announced that security planners had
completed their planning and preparation for election day
security measures. MINUSTAH expects low-turnout. Some
officials quipped that they were aiming to beat the 10%
turnout of the last parliamentary elections.

Low-key Campaign


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





3. (SBU) Campaign activity in Port-au-Prince and advertising
on television and radio has increased in the past two days,
but most observers expect a much lower turnout for the second
round. Haitians traditionally have regarded the parliament
of secondary importance in relation to the presidency: with
the presidency already decided, voters are presumably less
motivated to turn out only for senate and deputy races. UN
SRSG Valdes told the Core Group that many poltical parties
had used public funds to pay off debts from the first round,
leaving little money for second round campaigning. Preval
himself has avoided campaigning in advance of the second
round, instead delegating his advisors, notably former prime
minister Jacques Eduoard Alexis, to campaign on behalf of
L'Espwa party candidates. At the same time, Preval has
quietly courted leaders of other parties, particularly
FUSION, OPL, and the Protestant UNION party, and to a lesser
extent Alyans, MOCHRENA, MPH, emphasizing his interest in
cooperating with these parties in the parliament. He will be
meeting shortly with Leslie Manigat, the runner-up in the
presidential race who bitterly protested the manner by which

the CEP decleared Preval the victor, a meeting that surprised
some of his staff. Preval has also proposed a 25 year
"governability plan" for Haiti and solicited party leaders'
participation in the plan's preparation. Preval has
pointedly excluded Famni Lavalas party from these overtures.



4. (U) President-elect Preval made his first appeal for
voters to turnout for the second round on his return to Haiti
from Cuba on April 19, but conspicuously avoided directly
endorsing L'Espwa candidates. Preval appealed for voters to
turn out en masse, adding that he considered the parliament
as important as the presidency and urging Haitians to vote
for "competent deputies and senators."

Comment


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





5. (C) An encouraging air of calm has prevailed in Haiti
since announcement of the final results of the first round.
While there have been some small-scale incidents of violence
and other disruptions aimed at the electoral process in the
countryside, these have related to local disputes. At the
national level, Preval and other leaders have maintained a
non-confrontational public stance. Preval's own behavior has
been particularly discreet, aiming to appear presidential
through his foreign travel and deliberately discouraging
speculation about the composition of his government in
advance of final elections results. Whatever the final
composition of the parliament, because of the traditional
authority of the president combined with the efforts he has
already undertaken to cultivate allies among a range of
parties, Preval should be able to select the prime minister
of his choosing and form a cabinet without undue resistance
from parliament..

SANDERSON