Haiti opposition rejects president's electoral commission
Dec. 19, 2015
PORT-AU-PRINCE, Haiti (AP) — A Haitian opposition alliance and other factions rejected the government's efforts to calm protests and deep suspicions of fraud that have cast a shadow over Dec. 27 presidential and legislative runoff elections.
The "Group of Eight" presidential candidates, which includes runoff contender Jude Celestin, objected to a Thursday decree by current President Michel Martelly creating a commission that would have three days to evaluate the widely criticized election process and suggest ways out of Haiti's electoral dispute. The G8 group said it was meant merely as a "cosmetic solution."
For weeks, the group has demanded an independent review of October elections that it insists were rigged in favor of the government-backed presidential candidate.
It complained in a statement late Thursday that Martelly didn't seek consensus with the 10 sitting senators and opposition leaders before selecting the evaluation commission's five members.
"The G8 encourages the population to remain mobilized until the executive understands the need to respect the verdict of the polls," the statement said. It also demanded resignations at the Provisional Electoral Council.
The official tally after October's first presidential round, which gave government-backed candidate Jovenel Moise nearly 33 percent and Celestin 25 percent, has been endorsed by international observers.
After preliminary results were announced in early November, Elena Valenciano, head of the European Union observer team, said it represented a "breath of hope for Haitian democracy." The Organization of American States said results were consistent with what its team observed on election day.
Gregory Mayard-Paul, a spokesman for Martelly's Tet Kale party, told a local radio station Friday that he believes the opposition is trying to derail the electoral process with "unfounded accusations" because the government-backed candidate is the leading contender.
The Fanmi Lavalas party led by Maryse Narcisse, who came in fourth in the presidential results, also rejected the evaluation commission. She is not a member of Celestin's alliance of presidential candidates.