Haitian parliamentary election, 2000

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Parliamentary elections in 2000 were held in Haiti in two separate sets of elections, on May 21, 2000 and July 9, 2000, for all 83 seats in the Chamber of Deputies and nineteen seats in the Senate, and later that year, at the same time as November 26, 2000 presidential election for eight Senate seats. The parliamentary elections of 2000 refer most often to the spring first and second rounds of the elections, rather than the fall legislative elections at the same time as the presidential elections, as the former generated the most controversy. After the first round of the spring elections on May 21, 2000, the number of Senate candidates chosen by the Provisional Electoral Council (CEP) to participate in a second round was disputed by opposition parties and OAS Electoral Commission, who regarded the way the Provisional Electoral Council (CEP) calculated the votes as unconstitutional. As a result, the opposition parties boycotted the second-round of elections, and the OAS Electoral Commission withdrew its observers.[1][2] After a second-round voting took place on July 9 for 46 seats in the Chamber of Deputies and two seats in the Senate on July 9, theFanmi Lavalas party won eighteen of the nineteen Senate seats and 72 of the 83 seats in the Chamber of Deputies. Voter turnout was reported to be around 60% for the first round of elections and negligible for the second round of elections.[2]

Although the elections had been delayed several times and irregularities were reported on voting day, the balloting was judged to be free and fair.[3] According to the Center for International Policy, the elections were Haiti's best so far.[4] Controversy however affected the Senate race over the calculation of whether Senate candidates had achieved the majority required to avoid a run-off election (in Haiti, seats where no candidate wins an absolute majority of votes cast has to enter a second-round run-off election). The validity of the Electoral Council's post-ballot calculations of whether a majority had been attained was disputed.

The results of the Chamber of Deputies were not disputed,[4] but controversy followed the decision of the CEP to declare first-round winners in seventeen of the Senate's nineteen seats. The CEP had changed its methodology on calculating the absolute majority for the Senate elections; it based the absolute majority on the number of votes cast for a limited number of candidates (usually the first four candidates with the most votes), instead of the total number of valid votes cast for all candidates. By applying the original methodology of absolute majority based on all votes cast to the first-round of Senate elections, the OAS contended that the ten Senate seats, rather than two, as asserted by the CEP, were eligible for run-off elections,[5]>.[4] The OAS told the CEP of its error, but it declined to amend its calculation. The OAS suspended its observation activity and the opposition parties boycotted the run-off elections.[5] The head of the Electoral Council, Léon Manus, maintained that the calculation method "was in keeping with past practice",[4] and initially told the OAS not to interfere. He later changed his mind and did a recount, and spoke to Préval and Aristide, who "made forceful statements which Manus took as threats to his life", as a result of which he left the country.[6] Voting stations during the run-off elections for 46 deputies and two senators on July 9, 2000 were virtually empty. After this run-off election, Fanmi Lavalas was deemed to have won eighteen of the nineteen open Senate seats.[4] The various contestations about which candidates should have gone through run-off elections obscured the fact that the very popular Fanmi Lavalas party would have likely won the disputed seats if they were subjected to a run-off; journalist Michele Wucker writes that OAS observers "reported that the irregularities would not have affected the final outcome significantly." [7]

In response to the disputed election the US cut off aid and blocked previously agreed loans from the Inter-American Development Bank.[4] "In 2001, a bankrupt Aristide agreed to virtually all of the concessions demanded by his opponents: he obliged the winners of the disputed Senate seats to resign, accepted the participation of several ex-Duvalier supporters in his new government, agreed to convene a new and more opposition-friendly CEP and to hold another round of legislative elections several years ahead of schedule. But the US still refused to lift its aid embargo."[4]

The legislative elections on November 26, 2000 were to address the portion of the Senate that President Préval had kept intact after his dissolution of the Parliament in January 1999. These nine senators' terms had not yet expired by January 1999. During the joint presidential and legislative elections of November 26, 2000, boycotted by all the major opposition parties, these seats were won by Fanmi Lavalas Party. By the time President Aristide started his second term in February 2001, Fanmi Lavalas held 27 of the Senate seats.

Results[edit]

Chamber of Deputies[edit]

Party Votes % Seats
Fanmi Lavalas 72
Christian National Movement 3
Louvri Baryé Party 2
Espace de Concentration 2
Other parties and independents 3
Invalid/blank votes - -
Total 83
Source: IPU

Senate[edit]

Party Votes % Seats
Fanmi Lavalas 27
Total 27
Source: IPU

References[edit]

  1. ^ Nohlen, D (2005) Elections in the Americas: A data handbook, Volume I, p381 ISBN 978-0-19-928357-6
  2. ^ a b Inter-Parliamentary Union, Haiti: Parliamentary Chamber: Sénat; ELECTIONS HELD IN 2000
  3. ^ Daniel P. Erikson, "Haiti after Aristide: Still on the Brink," Currently History, February 2005
  4. ^ a b c d e f g Peter Hallward, New Left Review, Option Zero in Haiti, May–June 2004
  5. ^ a b OAS, 13 July 2000, The OAS Electoral Observation Mission in Haiti: Chief of Mission Report to the OAS Permanent Council
  6. ^ James R. Morrell. Snatching Defeat from the Jaws of Victory, Center for International Policy, August 2000.
  7. ^ Michele Wucker, "Haiti: So Many Missteps," World Policy Journal, Spring 2004: 46.