Update Report No. 1: Haiti
Presidential Elections in Haiti, most recently scheduled for 8 January, have been postponed for the fourth time, on the grounds that a significant number of registered voters had not yet received their electoral identification cards. Haitian officials said the OAS and the UN were responsible for the failure of the distribution of the cards. At the request of Argentina the President of the Security Council for the month of January, Ambassador Augustine Mahiga of Tanzania, scheduled a briefing for the Council for Friday 6 January. With Brazil having left the Council at the end of the year, Argentina is assuming the leadership on this issue. The Assistant Secretary-General for Peacekeeping Operations, Hédi Annabi, will brief the Council. The Group of Friends of Haiti met on Thursday morning.
The Council seems to have regained interest in Haiti after not devoting much attention to the issue in November and December. (Please see our December Forecast report for background.) Most Council members now appear to consider that holding credible and transparent elections, with a high voter turnout, as more important than pressing for the elections to take place as soon as possible. Despite its earlier insistence on the elections to be held by a constitutionally prescribed date, the Council now appears to be willing to grant additional time for preparing the elections. This is also the position of the Group of Friends.
It is expected that the Council will adopt a presidential statement emphasising that, despite this delay, the organisation of transparent elections within a few weeks should be possible. The Council is also concerned that security should be improved and this is also likely to be reflected in the statement along with a reference to better cooperation between MINUSTAH and the Haitian National Police.
The setting of a new date for the elections relatively soon is obviously important if the transition in Haiti is to stay on track. However, it remains to be seen whether the Council will set a specific deadline in the presidential statement. 7 February is being considered as a new date for the elections, but has not been confirmed yet.
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