Haiti launches campaign season for elections | Miami Herald

“I am voting. We are voting. Let’s all participate,” read banners in Creole draped across Port-au-Prince streets by the Provisional Electoral Council, known by its French acronym, CEP.

“Elections are moving forward,” said Frédéric Bolduc, special representative of the Organization of American States in Haiti. “[The] CEP has made great efforts to be able to deliver a first round on Aug. 9.”

Technically, there are no impediments to Haiti’s voters going to the 1,558 polls to cast ballots for candidates in the 130 legislative posts, international observers say. And while a $26 million funding gap still exists for the scheduled Oct. 25 presidential elections and possible Dec. 27 runoff, the first round is fully funded.

Meanwhile, the ballots bearing the names of the 1,856 candidates — 233 for 20 Senate seats and 1,623 for 119 seats in the lower Chamber of Deputies — have been printed. The elections have been delayed for more than three years.

But technical readiness aside, skepticism remains among Haitians about the CEP’s ability to pull off the vote. Among the concerns: the slow pace of recruitment for poll workers, readiness of the police and several brewing crises that could either postpone the vote, or turn it into a mess, obeservers say. Fueling electoral skepticism is the growing migration crisis with the Dominican Republic, and a controversial decision by the CEP to eliminate presidential candidate Jacky Lumarque from its list of 58 approved candidates.

A CEP communique said Lumarque, a university president, was disqualified because he had not received a discharge certificate from parliament certifying that he had properly handled government funds when he ran a presidential state education committee. Lumarque’s supporters argue that he never handled funds, and note other presidential candidates who served on commissions remain in the race despite their lack of a discharge. via | Miami Herald.

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