The Joint OAS-CARICOM Election Observation Mission (JEOM) in Haiti continues to be active throughout the entire country and has maintained a presence in the Vote Tabulation Centre (VTC). The JEOM deployed a team of observers from the very start of the tabulation of votes in order to observe the reception, the data inputting and the verification of the validity of the results sheets (procès-verbaux) sent from the polling stations throughout the country. This phase of the electoral process is of critical importance. The procedures that underpin the treatment and verification of the results sheets help identify and fight against electoral fraud in order to obtain results that reflect the will of the people. The JEOM reminds that these procedures were explained to political party representatives during the information visits to the Vote Tabulation Centre organized by the Provisional Electoral Council (CEP).
The JEOM notes the opportunity for dialogue provided by the CEP when it met with the presidential candidates on 3 December. While admitting the irregularities, the disorganization and the incidents of vandalism and violence which had marred Election Day, the CEP committed itself to undertake the necessary corrective action to improve the second round.
The JEOM will continue to follow closely the coming phases of the electoral process, including the claims and challenge phase that follows the publication of the preliminary results. In this regard, the Mission reminds candidates and political parties that the results to be posted by the CEP on 7 December are preliminary. The Mission calls on candidates and political parties to carry out their claims and challenges in a peaceful manner and within the framework outlined by the Electoral Law which provides legal recourses to those who have grievances with regard to the results. The Mission also reminds that Article 174.1 of the Electoral Law stipulates that “where necessary, after the treatment of the data and before the proclamation of the official results, political parties and independent candidates participating in the elections have access to the Vote Tabulation Centre for verification purposes”. The Mission invites the actors to take advantage of this opportunity to verify in all transparency and within the framework of the law that the will of the people has been expressed through the ballot box. The Mission further reminds that that if there is fraud or irregularity, Article 178 permits any candidate or his representative to contest the election of another candidate within 72 hours following the posting of preliminary results.
The Mission is very concerned by the many complaints received by its observers concerning acts of intimidation against candidates who are involved in the current electoral process. The JEOM calls on the relevant authorities and in particular the Haitian National Police (HNP) to take the necessary steps in this post-election period. The Mission points out again that the holding of free and fair elections is closely linked to respect for human rights as set out in the American Convention on Human Rights, of which Haiti is a signatory. The authorities have the obligation to see to the security of candidates and other persons who are the targets of acts of intimidation and of violence. The Mission wishes to compliment the HNP on efforts to this end it has already undertaken.
On the eve of the posting of the preliminary results, the Joint Mission calls on the political leaders and those candidates who wish to attain the highest elected position to take advantage of the opportunity to demonstrate that they are responsible and to display their leadership qualities by ensuring that calm is maintained and that the established rules are obeyed. This coming phase in the electoral process requires a peaceful and serene atmosphere where the candidates and political parties can take advantage of the legal remedies provided by the Electoral Law.
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