Haiti: Electoral court grants opposition parties lifeline to challenge Moïse victory

Haitian President Jovenel Moïse during an interview with reporters shortly after the results of the election were released, Nov 29. 2016. PHOTO/AFP

The Haitian Electoral Court early this week ordered a review of the preliminary results of the November 20 presidential elections, handing a lifeline to 3 political parties that have been challenging the victory of businessman Jovenel Moïse.

Last weekend, the Provisional Electoral Council (CEP) ejected a request by the 3 political parties challenging the results of the elections and instead referred them to the Electoral Court.

The CEP, which met behind closed doors over the weekend, with the attorneys for the political parties – Famni Lavalas, Piti dessalin and LAPEH – also indicated that the operations of the Office of National Electoral Litigation (BCEN) did not fall within its purview, given that the BCEN is composed of 3 independent entities.

But on Monday night, the attorneys successfully argued the tally giving more than 55 percent of the votes to Moïse.

The attorneys representing defeated candidates – Jude Celestin, Moïse Jean-Charles and Maryse Narcisse – cited errors in the vote count and officials’ failure to comply with the requirement that voters sign their ballots or mark them with fingerprints at polling stations.
The Electoral Court, in its ruling, ordered that 12 percent of randomly drawn presidential minutes be verified and that the verification exercise be carried out in the presence of the parties concerned and the national and international electoral observation organizations.

The court has set no deadline for completing the process.

The CEP was due to announce the final results of the elections on December 29, but that announcement may be postponed because of the court ruling. -(CMC)