Irregularities Do Not Invalidate Election in Haiti, Observers Say

By Dialogo
December 01, 2010

International observers gave cautious approval to the disputed elections in Haiti, saying that they could be considered valid despite “irregularities” that have generated popular protests and accusations of fraud.

The problems detected include voter manipulation, acts of violence and intimidation, a “toxic atmosphere” created by accusations of fraud, and cases of voters who could not find a location where they could cast their ballots, the joint observation mission of the Organization of American States and the Caribbean Community said.

“The joint mission does not believe that these irregularities, serious as they were, necessarily invalidated the process,” Ambassador Colin Granderson, the head of the joint mission, said during a press conference in Port-au-Prince.

The evaluation by the 118-member team, which observed Sunday’s elections throughout Haiti, brought some relief to an international community anxious to see whether the elections produce a legitimate and stable government for the impoverished Caribbean nation, which is seeking to recover from a devastating earthquake.

Foreign donors consider this crucial for administering billions of dollars in funds promised to help the poorest nation in the Western Hemisphere recover from the 12 January earthquake that killed more than 250,000 people.

A declaration by local electoral authorities indicating that the vote was a success stands in contrast to popular discontent with the problems in casting ballots and a claim of “massive fraud” by twelve of the eighteen candidates for president.