Tuesday, May 31, 2016

Finding Only 9% of Votes Valid: Haiti Verification Commission Says Presidential Election Should be Scrapped

by Kim Ives (Haiti Liberte)

The moment of truth had arrived. At least, some of the truth.
            On the evening of May 30, Haiti’s Independent Commission of Electoral Evaluation and Verification (CIEVE) released its long-awaited report on the controversial Washington-supported elections of Aug. 9 and Oct. 25, 2015.
            The bombshell report found that “the electoral process was marred by serious irregularities, grave inconsistencies, and massive fraud.” Only 9% of the votes in its sampling were found to be valid.
            The five-member CIEVE, which reviewed 3,235 voter tallies (procès verbal) or 25% of the 12,939 total, recommended that October’s presidential first-round “restart from zero.”
            “The number of untraceable votes [also called zombie votes] exceeded the legitimate votes acquired by politicians,” said CIEVE president François Benoit. As another CIEVE employee summed it up: “More dead people voted than living.”

Monday, May 9, 2016

Polyarchy in the Dominican Republic: The Elite versus the Elite

The two leading candidates in the upcoming Dominican Republic presidential elections differ little when it comes to economic policy and the targeting of migrant and migrant-descendant communities.

By: Jeb Sprague-Silgado - NACLA 

In the Dominican Republic, as in many other countries around the Caribbean, the political strategy of leading dominant groups in recent decades has been one of polyarchy – that is to say, the options in democratic elections have been limited to voters selecting between different factions of elites. Since the 1970s, U.S. foreign policymakers, along with an increasingly wide array of UN, EU and other international agency officials have come to promote this approach. If ideological differences can be minimized, with parties differing little on core issues like economic development, then electoral competition is not only unthreatening to dominant interests, but also legitimating to notions of democracy.
This scenario is on clear display in the Dominican Republic, where the country’s mainstream political establishment, while squabbling amongst themselves, has sought to further facilitate and benefit from this “new normal.” The upcoming May 15th general election pits the country’s two mainstream parties, the Dominican Liberation Party (Partido de la Liberación Dominicana, PLD) and the Modern Revolutionary Party (Partido Revolucionario Moderno or PRM), amidst a variety of other parties. 
The incumbent candidate and leader in the polls is Danilo Medina, of the PLD, and his main opponent is Luis Abinader of the PRM. Medina’s tenure in office has been marked by a deepening of the country’s integration with the global economy and a controversial “denationalization” program targeting Haitian migrant families and laborers and the descendants of Haitian migrants.

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