A 10-person team from the Organization of American States (OAS) completed a report on Monday that concluded that Michel Martelly won more votes than previously announced in the Haitian presidential elections on November 28, 2010. The controversial election placed ruling-party candidate Jude Celestin in second place, qualifying him for a second round run-off over the popular kompa star Michel “Sweet Micky” Martelly. After reviewing the results, the OAS disqualified 17,220 votes for Celestin and 7,150 votes for Martelly, giving Martelly the second-place victory with 22.2 of the vote.
The Haitian government asked the OAS to review the election after widespread protests and violence broke out following the initial release of results on December 7, 2010. The clashes between protesters—mostly Martelly’s supporters—and UN Peacekeepers left at least five dead.
President René Préval and the Haitian Electoral Committee have denied accusations of fraud and ballot-stuffing. Now that the OAS results clash with the Haitian government’s—and cites the strong possibility of fraud—Préval has not yet accepted the OAS report. Whoever is chosen as the second-place finisher will face first place Mirlande Manigat in a run-off that is postponed until February 2011.
From the Americas Society/Council of the Americas. AS/COA Online's news brief examines the major—as well as some of the overlooked—events and stories occurring across the Americas. Check back every Wednesday for the weekly roundup.
Honduras Marks Coup Anniversary
A year after the overthrow of Manuel Zelaya, Honduras continues its struggle to recover from the political fallout. “In spite of massive international attention and multilateral efforts in the days and months that followed, reconciliation—both domestically and internationally—remains elusive,” says an article in World Politics Review. President Porfirio “Pepe” Lobo acknowledged that Zelaya’s overthrow constituted a coup, but his efforts at reconciliation have failed to win over key countries such as Brazil and Venezuela and regain entry into the Organization of American States. As the country marked the coup’s anniversary on June 28, Lobo expressed fears about plots against his own government while the exiled Zelaya charged that U.S. Southern Command played a role in his overthrow.
Concerns persist over human rights violations in Honduras. Twenty-seven members of U.S. Congress signed a letter to U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton urging an assessment of human rights in the Central American country to determine whether Washington should, once again, suspend aid.
Read an AS/COA analysis on the long-term economic costs of the coup.