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UN Official Calls On Stakeholders To Ensure Success Of Elections In Haiti

Trinidad-born Sandra Honoré, head of the UN Stabilization Mission in Haiti (MINUSTAH), seen addressing the media. Photo credit: UN.

UN Official Calls On Stakeholders To Ensure Success Of Elections In Haiti

UNITED NATIONS, New York Apr. 18, (CMC) – The Special Representative of the Secretary-General for Haiti and head of the UN Stabilization Mission in the country (MINUSTAH), Sandra Honoré, is urging all stakeholders, including the future Provisional Electoral Council (CEP), to ensure the success of the April 24 elections.

“It is these elections that will provide the country with an elected president. It is these elections that will ensure that the country can survive the current impasse. And it is these elections that will be used to create a framework for continuous socio-economic development of the country.”

There has been mounting speculation that the poll will not take place, putting in doubt Haiti’s plans for a new president to be inaugurated on May 14.

But in an interview with the UN News Centre, she said the Haitians, with whom she has had the opportunity to exchange ideas and opinions, “share everyone’s desire to see the country move forward, to see the economy grow at all levels and, above all, to live in stability.

“Haitians are eager to have regular and normal operations, the desire to create opportunities for their children and see the socio-economic development of the country move forward.”

Honoré said the electoral process in Haiti was initiated on August 9, 2015, with the first round of parliamentary elections. The second round of parliamentary elections followed on October 25, 2015, along with the first round of the presidential election and the municipal polls.

“The second round of presidential elections should have taken place on December 27, 2015. It was adjourned until January 2016. Unfortunately, the elections for the president and for some of the parliamentary seats, did not take place in January.

“The positive aspect is that following the two rounds in August and October 2015, 14 seats out of a total of 20, have been filled in the Senate, and 92 seats out of 119, in total, were provided to the Chamber of Deputies. I say positive, because the Haitian Parliament was able to work again on January 1, 2016, after a year of not functioning.”

Honoré, who addressed the UN Security Council on the situation in Haiti, said her main message to the 15 members, who mandate the UN Mission in the country, was to explain the current situation, namely the work of MINUSTAH.

“MINUSTAH has reached the final year of its peace operations before transitioning to a newly configured UN presence in Haiti. Despite the current political impasse, the electoral process must continue,” she said.

She said, she presented the Council with information on the preparations for MINUSTAH’s transition of MINUSTAH, “which we are making and were asked to perform under the mandate of the Council to give the Haitian people the opportunity to take full control of their own destiny”.

She said members of the Council expressed their concern over the situation in the French-speaking Caribbean Community (CARICOM) country.

“For the past few years, the Council has been following, closely, the electoral process in Haiti, in particular the issue of the democratic consolidation process in the country. The 15 members were concerned by the postponement of the electoral process, initiated in 2015, and expressed a desire that the interim presidency of the country, the provisional government and all stakeholders, including political actors and civil society, do what is necessary to resolve important issues and come to restore institutional continuity.”

Honoré said that the Mission’s mandate from the Security Council is the professionalization and modernization of the National Police Haiti, which also aims to strengthen the rule of law, the promotion and protection of human rights.

The Good Offices of the Special Representative of the Secretary-General is also part of the work, she added.

“This mandate and the tasks related to this mandate will continue. Our desire is to help ensure that the authorities and the Haitian society, in general, fully support all the functions currently performed by MINUSTAH. And we will continue in this way until the Security Council gives us new directions and a new position regarding support of this mission to the country.”

She said the Mission also supports the CEP and the competent authorities of the Haitian government on capacity building and in the formulation of advice and guidance for the organization of elections.

“The United Nations system has contributed, contributes and will contribute to the electoral process, particularly through the United Nations Development Program (UNDP), which develops a set of actions and activities in the country.

“UNDP is responsible for the management of the Trust Fund for electoral operations. And UNOPS [United Nations Office for Project Support Services] provided assistance in terms of logistics elections. The February 5 Agreement was an agreement between the Haitian political actors, including the President of the Republic, then Senate President and the Speaker of the Chamber of Deputies.

“The Good Offices of the Representative of the Secretary-General is a political tool that allows us to be in touch with the whole society, with political parties, non-governmental organizations and organizations responsible for the promotion of human rights. We are constantly in touch with all these players.

“We have not taken part in the conclusion of the February 5 Agreement, but we supported, encouraged and urged stakeholders to reach an agreement capable of restoring institutional continuity, because the country was under the threat of constitutional vacuum. It was important that national actors could find a national solution of consensus, which was the case.”

Honoré said the interim authorities in Haiti have a clearly defined task in the 5 February Agreement. These tasks relate primarily to the organization of elections, the continuation of the electoral process initiated in 2015, she stated, adding, it is important that the country can conclude this process with an elected president and a Government, in accordance with the provisions of the Haitian Constitution.

“My message to the authorities, who will implement this Agreement, is to find a way to achieve consensus positions and demonstrate their commitment to acting in the interests of the Haitian people and in the best interests of Haiti as a nation,” the Trinidad-born diplomat added.

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