As the electoral period nears, more and more people are announcing their candidacy for the presidency. So far, about twenty candidates have registered for the presidential election. But this situation will definitely make things very difficult for the CEP (the Provisional Electoral Council), which will have to print ballots for a surprising number of candidates if all the candidates meet the requirements of the electoral decree and the 1987 Constitution:
The official registration of presidential candidates has not yet started. We are only in the phase of official declaration of candidacies. And yet, twenty-five presidential candidates are already registered so far. I will try to group them in categories.
First of all, three former members of the armed forces are standing for the presidency. They are: former colonel Himmler Rebu of the Great Rally for the Development of Haiti (GREH); former senator Dany Toussaint, who declared his candidacy in Saint-Marc at the weekend and will represent the Haitian Democratic Reforming Movement (Modereh); and there is also the former member of the armed forces and senior Haitian National Police (PNH) officer, Guy Philippe, who headed the armed rebellion against former president Jean-Bertrand Aristide. He will run for the National Reconstruction Front (FRN).
As for the business sector, multimillionaire Dumarsais Mecene Simeus, a resident of Texas, will run as an independent candidate. Manufacturer Charles Henry Baker, a member of the Group of 184 Civil Society Organizations (G-184) who was a key figure in the fight against Jean-Bertrand Aristide in the GNB (The Brave) movement, will run as an independent candidate There is also businessman Samir Georges Mourra who will run under the banner of the Mobilization for Haiti’s Development (MPH). And former Central Bank Governor Bonivert Claude will run under the banner of the Party for Haiti’s Transformation (PTH).
The Justice and Peace Platform has also designated a candidate to the presidency. The lawyer Rigaud Duplan, former president of the Port-au-Prince Bar Association, will represent this sector.
As for the political sector, about ten presidential candidates have already registered with the possibility of more parties joining the electoral contest. Former senator Paul Denis will represent the Struggling People’s Organization (OPL). Professor Gerard Gourgue will represent the Movement for Patriotic Unity (MUP). Former senator Serge Gilles will represent the Merging of Haitian Social Democratic Parties (FPSDH). Former Port-au-Prince Mayor Evans Paul will run for the Democratic Alliance (Alyans). Professor Leslie Francois Manigat will represent the Assembly of Progressive National Democrats (RDNP).
A former prime minister during the 1991 coup d’etat period, Marc L. Bazin, will represent the Movement for the Establishment of Democracy in Haiti (MIDH). There is also Hubert De Ronceray, former social affairs minister under the Duvalier regime, who will represent the Greater Center Right Front (GFCD). The lawyer Reynold Georges will represent the Alliance for the Liberation and Progress of Haiti (ALAH). Evans Nicolas will represent the Union for National Reconciliation (URN). A former Port-au-Prince mayor under the Duvalier regime and the military regime of 1988, Franck Romain, will represent the Patriotic Camp for Haitian Alliance (Pakapala).
The Protestant sector could find it hard to make a choice, because there are already four candidates who will represent this sector. Pastor Vladimir Jeanty of Paradi (Party of God), Pastor Chavanne Jeune of the National Union for Haiti’s Reconstruction (U.N.RH), Pastor Luc Mesadieux of the Christian Movement for a New Haiti (Mochrenha), and Pastor Jose Jacques Nicolas, who will stand as an independent candidate.
As for the Catholic Church, it might resort to Father Gerard Jean-Juste, according to reports. Besides, former Lavalas senator Louis Gerald Gilles had mentioned Jean-Juste as a potential candidate to the presidency who might represent the party of former President Aristide, the Lavalas Family. There are also former ambassadors Paul Marcelin, Jacques Ronald Belot and Robert Sterling Henri, who will run as independent candidates. It should be pointed out that these individuals have not yet registered. So, there is still a possibility they will withdraw their candidacies if they cannot meet the requirements of the electoral decree.
The CEP still has to make public the final list of parties which are eligible to run in the elections. But meanwhile, there is also the possibility that more parties will join the electoral contest. Anyway, the independent candidates might find it difficult to maintain their candidacies, because each of them will need to present a list of 100,000 names of potential voters.