haiti elections: electoral coup in progress by stanley lucas

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After months of warnings by civil society leaders and political parties, President Preval is in the process of executing his electoral coup today, November 28, 2010. It was widely reported that Preval had replaced members of the BEDs and BECs in most of the departments to put in place people loyal to him and his ruling party, INITE.

We also knew that 45% of the people had lost their electoral cards in the earthquake and that the voter lists were not updated to account for the 300,000 people who lost their lives in the earthquake.

Voters reported difficulties in securing their electoral cards after spending long hours at the local election precincts.

It should come as a surprise to no one that reports are streaming in this morning and afternoon about members of the ruling INITE party, in collusion with the partisan Provisional Electoral Council (in charge of election management), stuffed pre-marked ballots (in favor of INITE and their favored candidate Jude Celestin) into official ballot boxes overnight.

Most of the 10 geographic departments of Haiti have reported voter intimidation and violence against voters showing up at the polls to cast their votes.

This election does not meet any of the minimum internationally accepted standards of a democratic election.

What is going on is an electoral coup d'etat executed by President Preval and his ruling INITE party.

After months of warning about this eventuality, the candidates that were leading the now have no other option than to retreat and call for national mobilization to counter the coup and the violence.

This is a shameful power grab and a travesty in a country that is still reeling from the disaster of the January earthquake and is now struggling to contain a massive cholera outbreak.

What remains to be seen is how the international and domestic media will cover this election process.

We hope they finally get this story right and side with the Haitian people who deserve the right to freely elect their leaders.

Marjorir Gesner, November 28 2010, 12:55 PM

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