Sixty Haitian-American leaders and diaspora organizations are calling on the Obama administration to end its staunch opposition to a recount in Haiti’s disputed presidential elections, charging that it is undermining democracy in the Caribbean nation. The letter, addressed to U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry on Thursday, comes a day after provisional President Jocelerme Privert announced that he will soon form an independent verification commission to look into allegations of ballot tampering and multiple vote-buying in the Oct. 25 presidential first round. Privert said the commission is “indispensable” to political stability and putting confidence back in the interrupted electoral process.
The diaspora community is calling for the administration to support such a commission in hopes of salvaging the country’s electoral process. Haiti has been in a paralyzing political and electoral crisis since its presidential elections. Official results pit former president Michel Martelly’s hand-picked successor, Jovenel Moïse, against opposition candidate Jude Célestin. Moise garnered 32.76 percent of the votes, while Célestin had 25.29 percent.
Célestin immediately challenged the results and was joined by other presidential candidates, religious and human-rights leaders who demanded a verification on who belongs in the runoff. The allegations, meanwhile, fueled violent street protests, a boycott by Célestin and multiple postponements of the second round.