In my last post I talked about the near-monumental announcement that PLO president Mahmoud Abbas would not seek re-election. In light of the near- and full-revolutions in that part of the world, his announcement (conditioned and far-off in actual action) seems meek and was duly ignored by most of the world’s press. I’m happy to see that another similar positive outlook hasn’t been overlooked: the peaceful conduction of a runoff election in Haiti.
Haiti’s initial election was marred by obscene amounts of fraud and scattered violence with the established structure’s candidate “winning” enough to qualify for the runoff, despite being universally disliked (most importantly by actual Haitians). For whatever reason, a peaceful acknowledgement of the error happened and the two candidates with the most votes eventually were recognized.
The runoff between the singer Michel Martelly and the professor Mirlande Maniget occurred with only a single incidence of violence and widely acknowledged legitimacy. And with neither candidate being part of any real ‘establishment’ we should fail to see an escalating civil war after the results are announced next month (unlike the Ivory Coast). Haiti should be able to look forward to a peaceful transition of legitimate power to the hands of one of these right-of-center politicians (similar to what happened in Liberia).
I say “should” because as always there’s a wild card. Despite his responsibility for the torture and killings of large number of the population, former president Jean-Claude Duvalier has returned to his country. Somehow he maintains some sort of popularity, with some voters stating that if he had ran they would’ve voted for him. His far-left politics, which ended up putting a lot of wealth in his hands, stand in stark contrast to the current candidates.
Haiti has a history of deposing leaders via coup, even early in their terms and against high-percentage victories. What a blow it would be if Baby Doc Duvalier rode into Port-au-Prince a la Napoleon. The incomprehensible web of NGOs importing money and supplies would instantly dry up and favorable trade deals being arranged for the struggling nation would wither on the vine. Most likely Haiti would become the pet project of Chavez and Castro, helping it limp by, avoiding total collapse while letting its populace slip deeper into poverty.
This is, in my opinon, a worst-case scenario. But it is easy to imagine a frustrated nation if rebuilding does not truly show results in the next year, even more so if an all-too-common hurricane happens to worsen conditions. Still, the spirit in the air is one of hope, that Haiti may become like many of its Latin American neighbors who threw off dictatorships and found economic improvement.
Type of Media: Web news
Title: UN urges patience in Haiti’s wait for vote result
Read it at: http://www.reuters.com/article/2011/03/21/us-haiti-election-idUSTRE72J0O620110321?pageNumber=1