04.21.16

Senators Urge State Department To Confront Those Seeking To Disrupt Haiti’s Democratic Process

“Our experience with Haiti leads us to believe the postponement had less to do with the electoral process than it did with the losing candidates manufacturing a crisis”

WASHINGTON, D.C. – U.S. Senators David Perdue (R-GA), Johnny Isakson (R-GA), and Marco Rubio (R-FL) are urging Secretary of State John Kerry to use every tool at his disposal to ensure Haiti completes its presidential elections process and punish those who disrupt the elections for their own interests. On Friday, Haiti’s second round of presidential elections was postponed yet again, leaving Haiti without a clear path forward for a duly elected president or complete federal government to be put in place.

“Our experience with Haiti leads us to believe that the postponement had less to do with the electoral process than it did with the losing candidates manufacturing a crisis in order to achieve a ‘do-over’ with the hope of a different result,” wrote the Senators in a letter to Secretary Kerry. “This would set a terrible precedent for Haiti if allowed to succeed.” 

“We urge the Department of State to use every tool at its disposal to ensure that Haitian authorities conduct elections by the agreed upon deadline,” said the Senators. “This would require working closely with Interim President Privert and the new CEP to keep the election schedule on track and to avoid any pretexts for another postponement. We also ask the Department to identify and punish the ‘spoilers’ who routinely undermine and disrupt the electoral process for their own interests.”

Due to alleged threats of violence, the Provisional Electoral Council (CEP) postponed the second round of elections originally scheduled for January 24th; however, these claims have been refuted by independent observers and the Organization of Americans States. Since February 7, 2016, Haiti has been governed by interim President Jocelerme Privert who was tasked with completing the second round of elections by April 24, 2016. On Friday, the CEP announced its decision to delay the second round of elections again.  

Further, the letter requests that Secretary Kerry provide to Congress the State Department’s strategy for achieving successful elections in Haiti in the weeks ahead. The United States has already invested more than $30 million and much diplomatic effort in the Haitian presidential election, and the elections as a whole cost approximately $80 million.

View the full letter here