Select Committee on European Union Fortieth Report


Letter from Rt Hon Geoff Hoon MP, Minister for Europe, Foreign and Commonwealth Office to the Chairman

  Following your Committee's decision to clear Explanatory Memorandum 11691/05 on Haiti, and your subsequent letter of 5 October 2005[54] to Douglas Alexander, I would like to take this opportunity to update you on the recent elections in the country.

  Originally scheduled to start on 20 October 2005, the Haitian elections were postponed four times due to logistical difficulties and concerns over the security situation. The first round of presidential and parliamentary elections finally took place on 7 February 2006. Several international observer missions were present, including one sent by the EU and all were encouraged by the high voter turnout of 63% and by the relatively low levels of violence on polling day.

  Tensions flared up in the following days due to delays and allegations of fraud in the vote count. On 16 February the Electoral Council announced that René Préval had been elected President with 51% of the vote. This was possible due to eliminating the influence of blank votes from the overall tally. Whilst this initially caused some controversy amongst Préval's opponents, they decided not to challenge the result. Préval was acknowledged by the international community as the democratically elected President and was inaugurated on 14 May.

  The second round of parliamentary elections took place on 21 April. Turnout was relatively low at around 30%, although it is worth noting that this is significantly higher than for previous legislative elections in Haiti. René Préval's Lespwa Platform again performed well and will be the dominant force in both the Senate and the Chamber of Deputies.

  We very much welcome the successful holding of both presidential and legislative elections. This as an important step forward in Haiti's democratic process and we look forward to working with the new government.

29 June 2006

54   Correspondence with Ministers, 45th Report of Session 2005-06, HL Paper 243, p 243. Back

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