Election Universe

Elections 2015 in Haiti: Top 3 challenges

Elections 2015 in Haiti: Top 3 challenges
August 06 2015, 21:57

1. Scope of the elections.

One of the major challenges Haiti will be facing this year is having to put nearly all of its elected officials to the test. To schedule such ambitious electoral processes implies enormous political, social and economic efforts from the Haitian government, its international supporters and the general public.

According to UN reports, almost 6 million Haitians will vote: 1,280 representatives for local administrations, 140 mayors, 138 Parliamentarians (all 118 members of the Chamber of Deputies and two-thirds of the 30-member Senate) and the President.

The first event, the legislative elections, will take place on August 9 , followed by a second round in October, which will be combined with presidential, municipal and local elections. This presidential election, will be on October 25, with a runoff on December 27, if needed.

The project includes:

– Setting-up of nearly 13,500 polling stations in almost 1,600 voting centres.

– Printing approximately 60 million ballots and deploying 42,000 electoral kits.

– Hiring and training over 41,000 temporary operators to help run the elections.

– Registering and approving more than 160 political parties, and nearly 38,000 candidates. Only for the Parliamentary vote, 2,039 individuals had registered to run, said Richardson Dumel, spokesman for Haiti’s Provisional Electoral Council (CEP). 

2. Funding.

Another key challenge is finding the financial support for the entire election calendar. Haiti and the United Nations have calculated the country needs $74 million to complete the elections.

So far, the joint effort carried by the national authorities and international donors has generated enough resources to finance only the first round of polls in August 9. According to Haiti’s Prime Minister Evans Paul there is a shortfall of about $30 million. UN Development Programme (UNDP) Director for Latin America and the Caribbean, Jessica Faieta, confirmed that much work is “still necessary” in order to access funding. However, she expressed confidence that all parties would collectively identify further resources to bridge the electoral funding gap for the second and third round of polls.

Prime Minister Paul noted that Haiti had already contributed $13.8 million, more than any country, to a United Nations Development Program fund for election expenditures. His government also planned on providing another $10 million for the 128 political parties that are participating, and $6 million to the Haitian National Police, to face security responsibilities.

3. Modernising the election process.

UN statistics show that Haiti continues to reel from the devastating 2010 earthquake, in which more than 200,000 lives were lost. Adding to the vulnerable situation in Haiti, indicators such as poverty, violence, disputes by criminal gangs over territory, political instability and some of the world’s worst public health figures, make the planning and implementation of a complex manual election process a puzzling situation.

One of the challenges the Caribbean country could evaluate in order to improve cost-efficienty, transparency and speed would be to begin the modernization of its voting system.

Lord Mark Malloch-Brown, a former United Nations deputy secretary general and current Chairman for Smartmatic, recently explained in Haiti the advantages that using electronic voting in an election could bring to the country in order to fulfil its upcoming inordinate democratic expectations.

Sources: UN news, Globalpost.com, Haitilibre, Afp.com, Financial Times, Smartmatic

Image by Marcello Casal Jr./ABr via  CC BY 3.0 br