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Haitian President Rene Preval Visits Washington D.C.

March 9, 2010

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Haitian President Rene Preval meets with President Obama tomorrow to thank him for the more than $700 million the U.S. sent to the island after the Jan. 12 earthquake, but he’s also here to be put on notice that the world expects timely elections to be held next year.

Haiti, which has a daunting history of corrupt leaders, merciless death squads and shoddy building standards, was scheduled to hold elections next February, but Preval says the voting will have to be delayed for months because of the quake cleanup.

Secretary of State Clinton, who hosted Preval today, noted that the world will be more understanding and generous if free and fair elections are held in Haiti sooner than later.

“President Preval made the very important point that we must work toward elections to ensure the stability and legitimacy of the Haitian Government. I assured President Preval that the United States would work with the international community to hold elections as soon as appropriate,” Clinton said at a joint press conference with Preval at the State Department.

Preval acknowledged that “political stability is something fundamental for the development of a country,” but could not say when exactly he will reschedule the elections.

“I think that is what constitutes a guarantee for investors, for the population, that there is some guarantees, that there’s some security about their future. We need a parliament that’s operating, that functions, that votes laws,” Preval said.

“You need an executive power, you need a judicial power. The parliamentary elections had been scheduled for February, but of course, everybody will understand that, due to the conditions, how difficult it will be to respect that timetable and to organize elections,” he added.

The U.S., meanwhile, plans to host a major donors conference on behalf of in New York City on March 31st.

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One Comment leave one →
  1. Daphnee Liautaud permalink
    March 10, 2010 1:02 pm

    “Haitian President Rene Preval …[is]… also here to be put on notice that the world expects timely elections to be held next year.”
    Very misleading statement. I don’t know if you are able to read in French but if you consult Haitian news websites (metropolehaiti.com, le nouvelliste.com, radiokiskeya.com to name a few) you would find that actually Préval has been speaking in favor of elections at all levels for this year. He’s asked the Electoral Council to resume their work and apparently will expand their mandate to include the elections scheduled for later in the year. The objections and the proposals for a provisory government have been coming from opposition leaders.
    There were issues of legitimacy with the electoral council prior to the earthquake that are still outstanding that need to be addressed but I think and hope that the elections can occur at the end of the year so we can take another step in normalizing our political system.

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