Haitian Prime Minister Evans Paul called Thursday for creation of a special commission to guarantee the credibility of the Caribbean country’s elections before presidential and legislative runoffs can be held. In a statement posted on his Twitter account, Haiti’s No. 2 official said the commission should have three days to produce its recommendations to Haiti’s Provisional Electoral Council and the government. A week-and-a-half before the scheduled Dec. 27 presidential and legislative runoffs, Paul said he advised President Michel Martelly that it’s now necessary to “ensure the credibility of the process” because “transparent, participatory and inclusive” elections are a must amid deepening suspicions of official results from earlier rounds of voting. He did not detail how many commission members would be needed, how they would be chosen or what the scope of their review would be.
An opposition alliance including Jude Celestin, who finished second in the initial round of presidential voting, has been calling for an independent review of Oct. 25 elections for weeks. But the council that oversees the electoral process has rejected the demand, suggesting that it was a political strategy and insisting the agency lacks authority to authorize a review of the results.
A spokesman for Martelly, who has been ruling by decree since January, and officials with the Provisional Electoral Council did not immediately respond to requests for comment.