1. The present report is submitted pursuant to Security Council resolution 2313 (2016), by which the Council extended the mandate of the United Nations Stabilization Mission in Haiti (MINUSTAH) until 15 April 2017 and requested me to report on the implementation of the mandate not later than 30 days before its expiration. It covers major developments since my report dated 31 August 2016 (S/2016/753) and presents the findings of the strategic assessment mission.
II. Political developments
2. Haiti made significant progress in the consolidation of its democracy and stability. Presidential and partial legislative, municipal and local elections were held in a largely peaceful environment. The inauguration of Jovenel Moïse as President on 7 February 2017 marked the restoration of constitutional order and concluded one year of provisional governance arrangements under the leadership of provisional President Jocelerme Privert. The establishment of the new legislature completed all outstanding parliamentary vacancies, except for one seat. Jack Guy Lafontant, whom the President designated as Prime Minister on 23 February, is waiting for his proposed Cabinet and programme of work to be endorsed by Parliament, which will further prepare the ground for Haiti’s democratic institutions to address the most pressing challenges facing the country.
3. Electoral preparations had been on track in large part for the elections scheduled for 9 October when Hurricane Matthew hit, resulting in 546 deaths, 175,509 homeless and some 2.1 million people affected. The Provisional Electoral Council postponed elections to 20 November 2016, with a second round on 29 January 2017.
4. The elections of 20 November were held in a largely peaceful and orderly manner, notwithstanding the concomitant post-hurricane challenges. A total of 27 presidential candidates, including 3 women, and 181 parliamentary candidates, including 15 women, participated. National and international observers noted the fairness and transparency of the process, albeit with low turnout (estimated at 21 per cent). Haitian authorities, in particular the Government, the Provisional Electoral Council and the Haitian National Police, were widely commended for their impartial professionalism.
5. On 3 January, the Provisional Electoral Council released the final results after the completion of a verification process conducted by the National Electoral Tribunal in response to the challenges submitted by the runners-up. The Tribunal ruled out the possibility of massive fraud and arbitrated that minor irregularities did not affect the electoral outcome. Consequently, the final results reconfirmed the preliminary candidate ranking, maintaining Mr. Moïse (Parti haïtien Tèt Kale) in first place, with 55.60 per cent of the 1,062,839 valid votes, followed by Jude Célestin (Ligue alternative pour le progrès et l’émancipation haïtienne), with 19.57 per cent, Jean-Charles Moïse (Pitit Dessalines) in third place, with 11.04 per cent, and Maryse Narcisse (Fanmi Lavalas) in fourth place, with 9.01 per cent. Following the Council’s announcement of the final results for the first round of partial senate and legislative elections, 6 Senate and 25 Lower Chamber seats were filled, enabling the National Assembly to hold the first ordinary session of the 2017 legislative year on 9 January. On 10 January, Cholzer Chancy (Ayiti an Aksyon) was re-elected President of the Lower Chamber and, on 13 January, Youri Latortue (Ayiti an Aksyon) was elected President of the Senate and President of the National Assembly.
6. On 29 January, the second round for the remaining parliamentary seats and the single-round local elections were held in an overall orderly manner. Local elections drew a field of 31,053 candidates, of whom 12,088 were women, to fill more than 8,000 posts. According to the Provisional Electoral Council, the national turnout was 27.44 per cent. As a result of the completion of all outstanding legislative races, all 119 Lower Chamber seats and 29 of 30 Senate seats are now filled. Parti haïtien Tèt Kale won the largest number of seats, controlling 10 in the Senate and 31 in the Lower Chamber, but did not secure an absolute majority in either one. One Senate seat remains unfilled, following the arrest of Senator-elect Guy Philippe.
7. MINUSTAH supported advocacy efforts to promote the integration of the constitutional requirement of 30 per cent minimum representation of women, as provided for in the electoral decree, in close coordination with the Ministry of Women’s Affairs and Rights, the Provisional Electoral Council and women’s organizations. Notwithstanding significant efforts, only one female Senator and three female Lower Chamber members were elected. The single female Senator was elected internally to the Senate Bureau as First Secretary and one female member of the Lower Chamber was elected internally as Chair of the commission on women’s affairs and gender equality.
8. On 7 February, Mr. Moïse was inaugurated and assumed his functions as President. On the same day, the provisional President left office, concluding a peaceful transfer of power. In his inaugural address, the President called for unity, pledged to improve the living conditions of Haitians and announced the launch of a sector-based dialogue on the state of the nation.
9. The Government lived up to its earlier commitment to cover the electoral operating costs, mobilizing some $44 million of the total estimated $55 million required, in addition to allocating $6 million to the national police and providing $8.5 million to post-hurricane electoral infrastructure recovery. The Provisional Electoral Council demonstrated increasing ownership and capacity, most notably over the technical aspects of the electoral process, and implemented several measures improving the recruitment and training procedures for electoral staff, providing greater transparency in the deployment of political party poll watchers and improving the vote tabulation centre procedures. MINUSTAH, the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) and the United Nations Office for Project Services continued to provide support, albeit reduced, to the Council to produce, deliver and recover the electoral material and to implement electoral awareness-raising activities in support of the Council’s civic education campaign. MINUSTAH further supported the national police in the development and implementation of the joint integrated election security plans for both electoral rounds.
10. My Special Representative, through her good offices, consistently reached out to a broad spectrum of political leaders in the capital, Port-au-Prince, and in the regions to encourage the holding of peaceful, credible and inclusive elections, including through the conclusion of electoral pacts promoting non-violence and the peaceful resolution of electoral disputes.