The International Community Should Pressure the Haitian Government For Prompt and Fair Elections


June 30, 2010

I. Introduction

On June 28, 2010, Haitian President Renée Préval announced Parliamentary and Presidential elections for November 28, 2010, and issued a decree mandating that the country's ninemember Provisional Electoral Council plan for the elections. These upcoming elections will provide the political foundation for effective use of earthquake response funds and the development of a stable society that will be less vulnerable to future natural disasters. The Government of Haiti (GOH) must stick to its deadline, but it must also run fair, inclusive and constitutional elections.

These elections are particularly important to:

a) re-establish an effective legislature that can make the vital national policy decisions entrusted to it by Haiti's constitution;

b) establish political accountability for the expenditure of large amounts of money that will have a lasting impact on Haitian society; and

c) resolve Haiti's current societal disputes in a peaceful and democratic manner.

The failure to hold credible elections will perpetuate the social unrest and political uncertainty that made Haiti vulnerable to the earthquake's damage, and slow to mount an effective governmental response. The international community, in order to protect its investment in Haiti's reconstruction and facilitate the emergence of a democratic, stable government in Haiti, must use the leverage that its financial contributions to reconstruction provide to ensure the holding of fair, inclusive and constitutional elections.