OAS responds to Haiti election concerns
PORT-AU-PRINCE, Haiti, Wednesday October 20, 2010 – Amid questions about the credibility of the presidential elections scheduled to take place in Haiti next month, the Assistant Secretary General of the Organisation of American States (OAS) Ambassador Albert Ramdin has assured that measures are being put to place to ensure the polls are transparent.
The OAS and the Caribbean Community (CARICOM) have mounted the largest-ever Joint Electoral Observation Mission for the November 28th poll in the earthquake-torn country. But there has been concern about Haiti’s ability to hold the elections, as well as the transparency and credibility of the process, given the slow pace of recovery following the January 12th earthquake.
Ambassador Ramdin, who’s also Chairman of the Haiti Task Force, said the OAS is aware of the issues raised by the political parties and the candidates, but said the organisation was encouraged by the current efforts of the Electoral Council (CEP) toward public information and education.
“It is important to note as well that a simulation exercise of the day of the election and the operations of the Tabulation Center was held with representatives of political parties and the CEP present,” he said.
Ambassador Ramdin also believes that the presence of the Joint OAS-CARICOM Election Observation Mission, domestic observers and party polling agents will go a long way in contributing to credible elections.
He also noted the surge in Haitians seeking identity cards in August and September to secure their right to vote and said the main focus now is on a peaceful election campaign and in the distribution of the ID cards to Haiti’s Office of National Identity.
About 4.7 million Haitians have been registered to cast their ballots, with 187,000 persons being placed on the electoral list following registration over the past two months.
Several political parties and candidates had threatened to boycott the elections but have since indicated they will participate in the process after all – a move that Ambassador Ramdin has welcomed.
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