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OAS Assistant Secretary General Reports on Visit to Haiti

WASHINGTON, DC – The Assistant Secretary General of the Organization of American States (OAS), Albert R. Ramdin has reported to stakeholders in Washington DC on his visit to Haiti during last Sunday’s Presidential and Legislative elections. Ramdin’s report, which was presented hours after his return to Washington, noted the challenges to the election process, and made preliminary recommendations on the way forward.

The OAS Assistant Secretary General acknowledged the allegations of fraud made by some of the presidential candidates and the call for the annulment of the polls. According to the high ranking OAS official, in this regard Haiti’s own electoral laws and procedures must be followed. “There are provisions (in Haiti’s law) for challenges and objections. These provisions could be pursued, to require the Provisional Electoral Council (CEP) to take the irregularities seriously and investigate them as a matter of urgency. If it is requested, I am sure the international community stands ready to assist in the investigation of irregularities reported,” said Ramdin.

The OAS official also recommended that the CEP start examining its logistical and organizational capabilities, and its communication channels. “In an electoral process, technical deficiencies must be addressed fully, to prevent them from becoming politicized,” he said. A more detailed report on the technical aspects of Sunday’s elections is expected to be presented by the Head of the Joint Electoral Observation Mission, Colin Granderson, shortly. “It is important to provide the factual and clear information on the elections,” said Ramdin.

Assistant Secretary General Ramdin also called on political candidates to promote peace and stability, as the electoral process in Haiti continues into a second round. Preliminary results of the November 28 elections are expected by December 7 or possibly earlier. Final results will be announced by December 20.The second round of presidential and legislative elections, expected to take place in Haiti on January 16. The Joint Electoral Observation Mission is expected to remain in Haiti until the final results of the election are announced.

Haiti’s representative to the OAS, Ambassador Duly Brutus, thanked the international community for its participation and support in Haiti, affirming that “it would have been impossible for Haiti to organize the elections without the support of the international community.”

“It is very important for Haiti to return to the road of social and political stability as soon as possible,” he added. “I hope these elections will provide an opportunity to Haiti to reflect on how to approach the next steps in the electoral process.”

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