Haiti’s prime minister and elections council president sought to reassure the international community Thursday that all was on track for the country’s most complex election process in history. “We’ve already started the process, and progress is visible,” Pierre-Louis Opont, president of the Provisional Electoral Council, known as the CEP, told Haiti’s international partners in New York during a United Nations donors conference. The country was seeking $31 million to cover election costs. At the meeting, Brazil, Canada, Norway and the United States promised to provide additional funding, the spokesman for the U.N. Secretary General said. It was unclear Thursday how much. An effusive Opont told donors that political parties, civil society and voters had confidence in the elections council, adding that “we have headed off skeptics.”
But serious doubts remain, including notification of polling sites for many of the 5.8 million voters, exclusion of some candidates and the council’s tardiness in almost everything from recruiting and training of poll workers to the publication of the final lists of candidates.
“What the members of the [Provisional Electoral Council] are saying do not conform with the reality we are seeing on the ground,” Pierre Esperance, head of the National Human Rights Defense Network, told the Miami Herald. “We risk unleashing a huge catastrophe.”
Among the issues his group has raised both with the CEP and U.N. officials, Esperance said, is the lack of voter education taking place about the importance of the election and concerns that 60 percent of registered voters could be disenfranchised.