“Big Setback” for Haitian Democracy as U.S. Gets Its Way; Forces Runoff Elections Between Two Right-wing Candidates, CEPR Co-Director Says

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“Big Setback” for Haitian Democracy as U.S. Gets Its Way; Forces Runoff Elections Between Two Right-wing Candidates, CEPR Co-Director Says

Second Round Will Be Between Candidates Who Received Around 6.4% and 4.5% Percent Support from Registered Voters in First Round, Respectively

WASHINGTON - Haiti's democracy and
national sovereignty were severely undermined today, Mark
Weisbrot
, the Co-Director of the Center for Economic and Policy
Research (CEPR) said today, reacting to news that Haiti's Provisional
Electoral Council (CEP) had given in to external pressure and announced
that government-backed candidate Jude Celestin will not proceed to the
second round of elections.

"What a disgrace this is to the United States government: the richest
country in the world has forced one of the poorest to change the
results of its presidential election, literally under the threat of
starvation," Weisbrot said. "Now two right-wing candidates, who
received votes from around 6.4 and 4.5 percent of registered voters,
respectively, will compete for the presidency, in another farcical
‘election.'  

"This is a big setback for democracy in Haiti. Far from fixing the
problems with the first elections, this is simply an attempt to impose
an illegitimate government on Haiti, and it will backfire," Weisbrot
said.

"Washington also continues to try to keep former President Aristide,
the country's first democratically elected president, out of the
country. This is equally inexcusable and will also fail," Weisbrot also
stated.

Foreign governments and international institutions, led by the Obama
administration, have put enormous pressure on the CEP to follow the
recommendations of a flawed Organization of American States (OAS)
"Expert" Mission report, that singer Michel Martelly should move to the
runoff instead of Celestin. Despite the historically unprecedented
situation in Egypt and the Middle East, Secretary of State Hillary
Clinton made an unplanned trip to Haiti over the weekend to personally
pressure the Haitian government to pull Celestin from the runoff.

CEPR's statistical
analysis
of the OAS Mission's methodology and conclusions, however,
determined the report to be deeply flawed, "indefensible," and
"inconclusive", and the Center noted
that six out of seven of the Mission's "experts" were from the U.S.,
France, and Canada - governments that led the overthrow of Haiti's
first democratically elected president from 2000-2004. CEPR's findings
on the OAS report have been reiterated in the past weeks by the Congressional
Black Caucus
, 12 out of 19 of the first round presidential
candidates
, and the Haitian
government
, among others.

CEPR performed its own
count
of the 11,181 tally sheets from the election's first round,
and found
that "Based on the numbers of irregularities, it is impossible to
determine who should advance to a second round. If there is a second
round, it will be based on arbitrary assumptions and/or exclusions."
The Center concluded that only new elections - including all legitimate
political parties - could ensure the will of the Haitian electorate is
validated.

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The Center for Economic and Policy Research (CEPR) was established in 1999 to promote democratic debate on the most important economic and social issues that affect people's lives. In order for citizens to effectively exercise their voices in a democracy, they should be informed about the problems and choices that they face. CEPR is committed to presenting issues in an accurate and understandable manner, so that the public is better prepared to choose among the various policy options.

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