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Haiti bans largest political party from elections

Canada Haiti Action Network:

THE CANADA Haiti Action Network expresses its grave concern at the November 26 decision by Haiti's Provisional Electoral Council (Conseil électoral provisoire--CEP) to exclude the Fanmi Lavalas Party from planned elections to take place on February 28, 2010. On that date, Haiti will hold elections for 98 of 99 seats in the Chamber of Deputies and 10 seats of its 30-seat senate.

According to varying news reports, some 12 other political parties that had registered to participate in the election were ruled ineligible.

Thousands of Haitians staged a protest in the capital city of Port-au-Prince on December 16 against the exclusion of Fanmi Lavalas. Dr. Maryse Narcisse of the party's executive council told the Reuters news network, "There will be no election in February, there will be a selection. What the authorities are planning is really a big farce."

[...]One party approved by the CEP is the Front for National Reconstruction of the notorious paramilitary Guy Philippe. He stands indicted by a U.S. court in 2005 on charges of drug trafficking and money laundering.

This is the second time this year that the CEP has barred Fanmi Lavalas from an election. The first banning occurred in the election to 11of the 30 seats in Haiti's Senate that was held in two rounds in April and June of 2009. Following a call by Lavalas for a boycott of that election, voter turnout was less than 10 percent, perhaps as little as 2 or 3 percent. Despite the low turnout, the "elected" senators, mostly from President René Préval's electoral machine, L'Espwa, took office.

[...]MINUSTAH [UN peacekeeping force] approved of the "election" of April/June 2009, as did the United States, Canada and France. The big three countries provided $12 million to organize it. Some $15 million is earmarked for the hastily called 2010 election. The United Nations' independent expert on human rights in Haiti, Michel Forst, declared on November 30 that he was convinced the CEP had "good reasons" for its recent exclusion decisions.

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