Op-Ed

Stop stalling on Haiti’s presidential election

Police try to remove burning tires during a protest by supporters of candidate Jovenel Moïse.
Police try to remove burning tires during a protest by supporters of candidate Jovenel Moïse. AP

As the leading candidate for the second round of presidential elections in Haiti, my promise for a modern Haiti is simple: I propose to bring together the people, the land, the water and the sun. Along with modernizing education, services and infrastructure, the modernization of agriculture is my focus and, in my view, the only way to develop Haiti with our own resources rather than continuing to depend on foreign aid.

Taking full advantage of trade bills — such as the Haitian HOPE Act — to ensure job creation in the apparel industry and fill existing buildings and industrial parks, my policies will provide the stable climate required for Haiti’s multifaceted hemispheric integration.

My vision for a modern Haiti is summarized in a simple way: Continue with the good initiatives of past administrations, correct those that need correcting and innovate in many ways. My message and my personal story inspired the Haitian people whose struggles I have also faced. This is the dream for Haiti that successfully convinced a majority of the Haitian population to vote for me on Oct. 25. It is the same dream that continues to inspire them to support me in the second round.

Today our economy is paralyzed, we are facing increased insecurity and deepened citizen distrust of our institutions and we have driven away foreign investors who had begun to see serious investment opportunities in our country.

My call to Haiti’s interim rulers is loud, simple and clear: I demand compliance with the consensus political agreements signed on Feb. 6, that grants them the legitimacy only to govern temporarily and the immediate publication of an electoral calendar to hold the second round of the presidential elections.

The agreement set April 24 as the date for the second round of presidential elections and May 14 for the inauguration of Haiti’s next president. The political agreement also called for: parliament to name an interim president and prime minister and the nomination of a new Provisional Electoral Council (CEP).

After attempting to install a prime minister who would suit his long-term political aspirations, Provisional President Jocelerme Privert finally installed a new government headed by Prime Minister Enex Jean Charles. Their only mission, established by the Feb. 6 agreements, is to oversee the good functioning of the government until the new democratically elected president can be sworn in on May 14.

Instead, Privert’s public statements reveal that he is tampering with the electoral process and weakening the newly installed Provisional Electoral Council (CEP) by calling for yet another evaluation commission of the Oct. 25 first round, which I clearly won according to most independent and credible accounts.

Among others, the Organization of American States, representatives of the U.S. government and the European Union monitored and investigated the October results. They deemed the results to be fair and the allegations of widespread electoral fraud highly exaggerated.

Until today, the electoral calendar deadlines have not been met, and the current interim administration continues to drag its feet. Recently, Léopold Berlanger, the newly elected president of the CEP, announced that it was impossible to meet the agreed upon date but he failed to provide an alternative.

The CEP faces immense pressure from the current government and a small group of powerful voices doing their utmost to derail this process. Their gravest fear is the kind of change I have promised to bring because it threatens the traditional political class responsible for keeping our country in a prolonged state of paralysis.

As the leading presidential candidate, I will continue to defend the votes of those who believe in my vision for a prosperous Haiti and I will not give up until democratic governance is re-established in Haiti.

Jovenel Moïse is a Haitian businessman and politician. He was named the top vote-getter in the October presidential election round.

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