I said more trouble lay ahead for Haiti and it has arrived. This year, an earthquake, a hurricane, Cholera, and then the election (that I call a non-election). Now we’re in the middle of major upheaval over the preliminary results of the non-election that were announced last night. We were anticipating this, but its arrival is not easy. Nothing much is happening anywhere. Most people are remaining at home while the pot boils and waiting for it to return to simmering.
The pot started to boil shortly after the results were announced and today boiled over in many areas. One of the main objections is that the results announced last night do not match what the National Election Observation Council had reported a couple days ago. They reported voters on election day as saying they had voted – 30% for Mme Mannigat, 25% Mr Martelly (aka, Sweet Micky), and 20% Jude Celestin (the ‘dauphin’, heir apparent of President Preval) (as my friend Judith so beautifully puts it). Last night’s preliminary official results said – Mme Mannigat 31.37%, Jude Celestin 22.48%, and Michel Martelly 21.84%—only 6,845 of the over 1million votes separate Martelly from Celestin.
The question everyone is asking is how much of the vote for Jude Celestin is real vs rigged? The 18 candidates have the right to protest the results within the next 3 days. Final results are due December 20th. Only two of the multitude of legislative seats have decided, so the rest will again be up for vote in the 2nd phase 16 January 2011.
Among the likely decisions the CEP (Haitian Electoral Council overseeing the elections) could make at this point, which one will it be:
- Place Martelly on the ballot also for January making it three – Mannigat, Celestin, Martelly.
- Keep it as is and have only Mme Mannigat and Celestin on the docket for January 2011? Haïti will be hot for a long time if they go this route!
- State that Martelly did indeed receive more votes than Celestin and the revote in January becomes Mannigat vs Martelly instead? That, too, will cause a political furor.
- Scrap the whole election and start over. Not very likely.
This may be the most crucial of elections here in a long time. Much of what will happen in rebuilding Haiti, hinges on electing of a good leader. Previous elections have been troubled and many corrupt; but the 2005 election stood out as the best run and most fair. If they could get back to how it was done then the January voting would have a much better chance for success.
Here at the mission we are all okay. We are tucked safely inside the walls. The demonstrating in our area today was not violent as it was in many areas of Haiti. Roads were blocked so nothing was moving in either direction, businesses closed, and schools, of course, still closed. Tonight I am hearing lots of gunfire outside and am hoping it is people shooting in the air.
Please remember that Haiti needs your prayers. Blessings.