PORT AU PRINCE, Haiti, CMC – The Joint Organisation of American States (OAS)- Caribbean Community (CARICOM) Electoral Observation Mission (JEOM) Wednesday said it was appealing to candidates who wish to contest the preliminary results of the presidential and legislative council to do so within the ambits of the law.
Spokesman for the Provisional Electoral Council (CEP), Pierre Thibault said musician Michael “Sweet Micky” Martelly had received nearly 68 per cent of the votes cast in the March 20 second round runoff, easily defeating former first lady and law professor Mirlande Manigat in the election to replace outgoing President Rene Preval.
In a statement, the JEOM said that it has taken note of the preliminary results and also the concerns raised by the defeated candidate.
“The Joint Mission is aware of the press release dated 4 April 2011 from the Secretariat of the RDNP, the party of Mrs. Manigat, calling on the CEP to ensure that the criteria for the exclusion of results sheets and the accuracy of the results are applied.
“The Mission appreciates that in a political environment where suspicion is easily aroused, any unaccustomed act will be negatively interpreted.
“In such a context, the two visits made by the CEP commissioners, including one at night, on the eve of the publication of the preliminary results, led to the allegations of the RDNP Secretariat purporting that the vote count had been manipulated by the inclusion of results sheets that should have been excluded,” it said.
The JEOM said that it had sought to quickly determine “if there were any grounds for these allegations and has been able to corroborate, following the publication of the preliminary results that the excluded results sheets were indeed not taken into account”.
But it the JEOM noted that the CEP commissioners “having voluntarily committed themselves to not visit the Vote Tabulation Centre (CTV), should have better measured the negative impact of their visits to the CTV a few hours before the transmission of the results”.
The JEOM said it wanted to remind the political parties and the candidates that the Electoral Law includes the contestation phase which precedes the proclamation of the final results.
“This phase facilitates the legal recourses necessary to address complaints related to the preliminary results and to provide redress where necessary. The Mission invites the candidates to take advantage of these legal remedies, which contribute to the consolidation of the rule of law as well as to the maintenance of peacefulness and calm in the country,” the JEOM said, praising the Haitian people for the calm and peacefulness displayed while awaiting the announcement by the CEP.
“The Mission also acknowledges the civility with which the supporters of the different political parties have in general greeted the results,” the JEOM said, adding that it had a presence at the CTV where the votes were being counted and “was therefore able to appreciate the importance of the efforts carried out to implement the recommendations of the JEOM and of the OAS Expert Mission and to guarantee the transparency and integrity of the results.
“It is unmistakable that in general the verification of the results sheets was more meticulous than during the first round. This having been said, the results sheets of the presidential elections benefitted from more time and consideration than those of the legislative elections.
“In addition, the verification was not always of consistent quality. This underlined the importance of the control and correction work undertaken by the supervisors and by the newly added quality control process,” the JEOM added.
The final results are expected to be published on April 16.
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