Electoral Observation Mission in Haiti

 Informal Translation  

 FRENCH

Port-au-Prince  June 16, 2000

  

Based on preliminary reports from the 21 observers who were deployed throughout the department of the Grand’Anse for the June 11 partial elections, the OAS Electoral Observation Mission (EOM) considers that, despite certain irregularities observed, overall the polling was carried out in an adequate and professional manner. However, the Mission remains concerned about the destruction on June 12 of counted ballots and vote tally sheets, already delivered to the Communal Electoral Office, for all the polling stations in the commune of Les Irois. The Mission notes with satisfaction the Provisional Electoral Council’s decision to re-hold legislative, municipal and local elections in this commune. 

The Mission’s observers were deployed in the majority of the region’s communes several days before the vote. They visited more than 180 polling stations located throughout the 18 communes of the Grand’Anse on election day. After the vote count, the Mission’s teams followed the delivery of voting materials by pollworkers to the Communal Electoral Offices (BECs) in nine communes. Teams then observed the compilation of results in the majority of the BECs. The Mission had established a presence in the Grand’Anse since the beginning of March in order to closely follow preparations for these elections, considered vital to completing the legislative, municipal and local elections on a national scale. 

The Mission congratulates the CEP, local electoral authorities, the Haitian National Police and the Haitian Government for their collaboration in establishing a climate of calm and security throughout this department on June 11, which led to the high turnout by Grand’Anse voters.  

Apart from the serious incident which occured at the BEC in Les Irois, several irregularities marred electoral operations in the department. The Mission has confirmed that on Saturday June 10 several pollworkers from the commune of Anse à Veau were attacked while they were transporting election materials to their villages and the ballots for eight polling stations were stolen. None of the polling stations established in the 5th section of this commune opened on June 11 following this attack. The Mission has also verified that in the commune of Dame Marie, during the night of June 11 after the vote tally was completed, pollworkers for four polling stations were attacked by armed men who stole all the counted ballots and tally sheets. Counted ballots for local elections (CASEC and ASEC) for another polling station in this commune were also stolen on the same night. The Mission considers that these incidents could have an impact on local election results, and maybe on the results for other races in these two communes. 

The Mission is currently investigating allegations that a pollwatcher for a political party was beaten and then kidnapped in an area of the commune of Jérémie which borders on the commune of Roseaux. 

Over the course of election day, the Mission’s observers noted the high number of pollwatchers representing the major political parties and independent candidates in the majority of the polling stations visited. They also observed an even higher number of national observers. However, in the communes of Miragoâne, Barradères, Petite Rivière des Nippes, Anse à Veau, Pestel, Beaumont and Jérémie, the Mission observed that a number of the national observers wearing t-shirts marked « CNO » or « KNO », the abbreviation for the National Council of Electoral Observation, behaved as though they were pollwatchers for various political parties. In the commune of Barradères, the Mission’s observers saw some « national observers » voting more than once. 

The Mission understands that the Coordinating Office for the National Council of Electoral Observation is investigating this problem in order to find a solution. 

In the town of Jérémie and the commune of Miragoâne, vote tally operations were transfered from individual polling stations to centralized locations, apparently for logistical and security reasons. However, after the vote counts were finished in these locations, it appears that vote tally sheets were not posted at any of the individual polling stations. The Mission observed that this transfer of vote tally operations, undertaken with assistance from the police, was relatively well-organized and the vote count was done in an orderly and calm manner. 

The Electoral Observation Mission, which will maintain an office in the Grand’Anse until the end of the electoral process, is continuing to observe the compilation of election results in the communal or departmental electoral offices. 

The Mission commends the determination of the Grand’Anse population to go to the polls to elect its representatives. It also recognizes the enormous effort made by election officials at the communal offices (BECs) of Miragoâne and Petit Trou des Nippes, as well as by officials of the departmental electoral office (BED) of Miragoâne, following the fires set in the premises of the BECs in these two communes. Their efforts made possible the holding of full elections in these areas on June 11. 

The Mission encourages electoral and police authorities, as well as the Haitian Government, political parties, candidates and civil society, to continue to play their part in order for the electoral process to be completed in an atmosphere of peace and tolerance. The Mission also encourages election officials to continue to work in such a way that the compilation of election results is carried out with the greatest degree of transparency, this being fundamental to the credibility of these elections and to guaranteeing that the will of the Haitian electorate is fully respected.

 

For further information, please contact the Mission’s press officer, Ms. Hannah Taylor, at 511-5690 or 403-0219