Electoral mission responds to Manigat complaint
PORT-AU-PRINCE, Haiti, Wednesday April 6, 2011 – As the party of losing presidential candidate Mirlande Manigat alleges irregularities in the vote count, the Organisation of American States (OAS)/Caribbean Community (CARICOM) joint electoral observation mission (JEOM) says there appears to be no evidence to support at least one of their concerns. But the mission has also urged candidates to use the legal recourse available if they have any complaints.
Following two visits made to the vote tabulation centre by the Provisional Electoral Council (CEP), before it announced that musician Michel ‘Sweet Mickey’ Martelly had come out on top in preliminary results from the second round, Manigat’s party, the RDNP, alleged that the count had been manipulated by the inclusion of results sheets that should have been excluded.
The Mission said it has found no evidence of that, even though it appreciates that in a political environment where suspicion is easily aroused, any unaccustomed act will be negatively interpreted.
“The JEOM hastened to find out if there were any grounds for these allegations and has been able to corroborate, following the publication of the preliminary results, that the excluded results sheets were indeed not taken into account,” it said in a statement issued yesterday.
“The CEP commissioners, having voluntarily committed themselves to not visit the CTV (vote tabulation centre), should have better measured the negative impact of their visits to the CTV a few hours before the transmission of the results,” it added.
However, the observer mission has reminded political parties and their candidates that the Electoral law provides for a contestation phase before the final results are announced.
That phase facilitates the legal recourses necessary to address complaints related to the preliminary results and to provide redress where necessary.
“The Mission invites the candidates to take advantage of these legal remedies, which contribute to the consolidation of the rule of law as well as to the maintenance of peacefulness and calm in the country,” the OAS/CARICOM statement said.
Meantime, the Mission has congratulated Haitians for the calm and peacefulness they displayed while awaiting the CEP announcement and acknowledged the civility with which the supporters of the different political parties have, in general, greeted the results.
It said it was also pleased with the tabulation of the votes from the presidential elections. The Mission said that the verification of the results sheets this time around was generally more meticulous than during the first round.
However, it said, the results sheets of the presidential elections benefitted from more time and consideration than those of the legislative elections.
“In addition, the verification was not always of consistent quality. This underlined the importance of the control and correction work undertaken by the supervisors and by the newly added quality control process,” the Mission said.
According to the preliminary results of the second round of elections, Martelly secured 67.6 percent of the vote while former first lady Manigat got 31.5 percent. Final results are expected by April 16.
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