May 2006 Monthly Forecast

Posted 27 April 2006
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AMERICAS

Haiti

Expected Council Action 
René Préval is scheduled to be sworn in as Haiti’s president on 14 May. The Council is likely to welcome Préval’s inauguration in a presidential statement.

Options
The Council’s response will depend on the developments in the electoral process in Haiti. Options include:

  • a presidential statement welcoming Préval’s inauguration and congratulating Haiti if the electoral process proceeds successfully;
  • firm action to reinforce respect for the electoral process if unrest starts to emerge; and
  • informal discussions on a revised mandate for the future UN role in Haiti.

Recent Developments
Préval’s presidential inauguration depends on the successful conclusion of the 21 April parliamentary elections. Haiti’s constitution requires that the presidential inauguration occur in the presence of a sitting parliament. 

The elections on 21 April were described by the spokesperson for the UN Stabilization Mission in Haiti (MINUSTAH), as “good, peaceful and democratic.” The Security Council issued a statement to the press on 25 April congratulating the Haitian population with the parliamentary elections. However, voter turnout was very low.  Only an estimated 30 percent of Haiti’s 3.5 million registered voters participated in the elections. At press time, the official results of the elections had not been announced.  But preliminary results indicate that Préval’s Lespwa party is likely to win the most seats but is unlikely to win a parliamentary majority.  It will almost certainly need to form a coalition government.

Much will depend on the final outcome of the parliamentary elections. A parliamentary majority elects the prime minister, who will act as head of government and appoint both cabinet members and important administrative posts. The parliament must also approve all foreign loans and will play a crucial role in determining the country’s relationship with the international community.

Council Dynamics
Given previous delays in Haiti’s electoral process, the Council will pay close attention both to the completion of the process and any potential signs of post-electoral violence. The Secretariat will give informal briefings to Council members on developments in Haiti. If the electoral process proceeds as planned, the Council is not likely to take further substantive action until it receives the Secretary-General’s report on the future role of MINUSTAH. Accordingly, discussions on the balance between security and development as MINUSTAH’s primary focus are unlikely in May.

Discussions in the Group of Friends of Haiti indicate that some Council members consider Haiti to be a good candidate for the new Peacebuilding Commission. However, given the complexity of the situation and the associated pitfalls other members believe that it would be too risky to choose Haiti as one of the early test cases for the Commission.

Key Facts
Municipal and local elections are scheduled to be held on 18 June. However, there are considerable doubts about whether these elections will be held on time.

The Council has requested the Secretary-General to report, as soon as possible after the conclusion of Haiti’s electoral process and in consultations with Haiti’s new government, on whether and how to restructure MINUSTAH’s mandate. The Secretary-General’s quarterly report on MINUSTAH, originally due in late April, is  likely to be postponed to include these recommendations and is expected to come out in time for consideration of the renewal of MINUSTAH’s  mandate in August.

Key Issues
During the Council’s last open debate on Haiti on 27 March, Council members congratulated President-elect Préval on his electoral victory and expressed a strong commitment to peace and development in Haiti. Préval argued for a focus on justice reform as well as disarmament, demobilisation and reintegration.  He emphasised the importance of political and social reconciliation. He also underscored Haiti’s need for international financial assistance to facilitate economic recovery and reconstruction.

During the Council debate Secretary-General Kofi Annan said that recent developments should encourage greater UN efforts in Haiti. He also noted that the country was only at the beginning of a long journey towards a stable and democratic future.

Several Council members stressed the need for a long-standing engagement in Haiti’s development, reinforcing the Council’s indication in February of its intention to authorise the continued extension of MINUSTAH’s mandate. During the debate, several countries also highlighted the multidimensional character of challenges to Haiti’s political, economic and security sectors.  With respect to the security situation, members pointed to the connection between security sector reform (SSR) and disarmament, demobilisation and reintegration (DDR). Recalling resolution 1608, Council members called for reform of the Haitian National Police and the judicial system.

The need for judicial reform was also highlighted last month by Thierry Fagart, the director of MINUSTAH’s human rights office in Haiti, who accused judicial officials and the interim government of illegally detaining most of the 4,000 people currently in jail. Fagart said most of the detainees had not been formally charged and called for the immediate release of many of the detainees while investigations and judicial proceedings continue. 

The Secretary-General’s Special Representative, Juan Gabriel Valdés, has emphasised Haiti’s need for an increased police force, particularly noting the severe insecurity in the Port-au-Prince neighbourhood of Cité Soleil. Reaching the goal of 20,000 police officers from today’s level of 6,000 will take several years, Valdés said in an interview with the media last month.

For historical background and a more complete list of UN documents please consult our January 2006 Monthly Forecast.

Most Recent UN Documents

 Selected Council Resolutions
  • S/RES/1658 (14 February 2006) renewed the mandate of MINUSTAH until 15 August.
 Selected Presidential Statements
  • S/PRST/2006/13 (27 March 2006) urged the Haitian government to ensure that elections will proceed and expressed willingness to cooperate with the newly elected authorities.
  • S/PRST/2006/7 (9 February 2006) commended Haiti for holding elections.
  • S/PRST/2006/1 (6 January 2006) expressed concern over the more recent postponement of elections and urged the government to schedule new dates.
 Last Secretary-General’s Report
 Security Council Meetings

Other Relevant Facts

 Special Representative of the Secretary-General
 Juan Gabriel Valdés (Chile)
 Force Commander
 Lieutenant General José Elito Carvalho Siquiera (Brazil)
 Size and Composition of Mission
  • Current strength as of 31 January 2006: 9,295 total uniformed personnel, including 7,519 troops and 1,776 police, supported by 455 international civilian personnel, about 516 local civilian staff and 161 UN Volunteers
  • Key troop contributing countries: Jordan, Brazil, Sri Lanka, Uruguay, Nepal, Argentina, Chile
 Cost
 1 July 2005 – 30 June 2006: $541.3 million

Full forecast

 

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