Haiti Elections: Completion of the 2015 Electoral Cycle

Kenneth H. Merten
Special Coordinator for Haiti and Deputy Assistant Secretary 
Washington, DC
June 16, 2016

Remarks As Prepared

A democratic transfer of power as soon as possible is critical to Haiti’s long-term stability. Elected officials are needed at all levels of government – from local officials, to parliamentarians, to the president. Although the elections are a Haitian-led process that the United States has supported, we are disappointed that the Provisional Electoral Council (CEP) has decided to rerun the presidential elections from the first round. This will increase the time and resources needed to complete the 2015 electoral process, and further delay installation of a constitutionally elected president. As it stands now, it is not likely that a new president will be seated in Haiti any earlier than February 7, 2017 – more than a year later than scheduled. Once again, this delays the democratic future of the Haitian people.

The February 5 political accord between legislative and executive authorities in Haiti established a roadmap to provide institutional continuity and an enabling environment for completion of the Haiti electoral process. We note with concern that the revised electoral calendar provides no date for installation of a democratically elected president. Continual delays in the electoral process run counter to the intent of the February accord. That is, temporary political solutions do not replace the urgent need for the seating of a democratically elected president in Haiti. Stability in Haiti can only be achieved through the democratic process of elections, not through political solutions.

As a key partner and friend of Haiti and its people, the role of the United States has been to support and strengthen Haitian democratic institutions and processes in a manner consistent with the terms and spirit of the Inter American Democratic Charter. This includes adherence to regular election cycles for citizens to elect their own leaders and express their will toward a collective vision like the vast majority of other countries in our hemisphere that are now governed by democratically elected leaders.

As called for in the February accord, we encourage the Provisional Electoral Council to quickly implement technical fixes to improve the transparency and fairness of the upcoming elections, with an aim toward restoring public confidence in the process. The United States welcomes steps toward peaceful, credible, and transparent elections in Haiti.

The longer it takes for Haiti to have a democratically elected president, the longer it will take for the United States to consider renewed partnerships to help Haiti confront its mounting economic, climatic, and health challenges. We look forward to the prompt seating of a democratically elected president in Haiti who can work with the United States and Haiti’s other international partners on addressing the many challenges facing the country. Prompt installation of a democratically elected president is in the interests of the Haitian people.