As the election campaign in Haiti enters its last week, the Joint OAS/CARICOM Electoral Observation Mission (JEOM) calls on the presidential candidates to do everything to ensure that the campaign continues to take place in an environment of tolerance and mutual respect. Until recently, the presidential election campaign had proceeded in an atmosphere generally characterized by togetherness and understanding. The JEOM therefore deplores the disruptive and violent incidents that broke out last week when there were clashes between the supporters of the candidates during rallies in Port-au-Prince and Cap Haitian.
The presidential candidates have the responsibility to calm the passions of their supporters and to recommend peacefulness. They should also publicly condemn any act of violence by their own supporters or those of others. They should also set the example by avoiding incitement which could lead to the disruption of public order. In this regard, the Mission deplores the calls made by the candidates to take to the streets after the elections to claim victory. The Mission reminds the candidates that elections are won at the ballot box and not in the streets. Political leaders should take advantage of the election campaign to underline their commitment to democracy and their sense of responsibility by adhering to the rules of the game and the provisions of the Electoral Law.
The JEOM condemns the killing last week of the persons putting up posters and has taken note of the rapid response of the Haitian National Police (PNH). The Mission hopes that that the investigation will follow the established procedures so that the courts can determine the responsibilities and the penalties for this crime.
For more information, please visit the OAS Website at www.oas.org.