There is apparently a concerted effort by some, mostly through the internet
and the media, to create confusion over the results of Haiti´s February 7th
elections. The fact remains that as of 10p.m., February 8, 2006,   Haiti’s
Electoral Management Committee (CEP), the official agency charged with
running the elections, had only received the votes from the West Department
and had counted only 2 percent of those votes. None of the other nine
regions had communicated any results to the CEP. According to the CEP, no
one, including the press, is allowed to give any partial or complete voting
results until the CEP issues a formal statement to that effect.

The false and misleading projections and allegations that have been
circulated can only generate confusion, misunderstanding and possibly

Haiti Democracy Project (HDP) calls on all interested parties to remain calm
and follow the announcements from the CEP which has put in place a
tabulation process which is open and transparent to all national and
international observers.

That process includes the following sequence:

1. Reception of the tally sheets
2. Counting and tabulation of the results
3. Verification, evaluation and comparison of the tally sheets with
observers´ results
4. Contestations
5. Announcement of the results
6. Contestations
7. Certification

The CEP´s tabulation process will take time. HDP calls on all actors to be
patient and let the process follow its course before issuing any
announcement that could only serve to disrupt it. The Haitian people which
have so enthusiastically participated in the elections, are deserving of


Haitians turned out in mass throughout the country to vote today.  The challenges of the early hours were related mostly related to the failures of basic organization of the process and its logistics. Under the management of the Organization of American States (OAS), the elections preparations suffered several delays and the main deficiencies noted today included an insufficient number of polling stations in many areas, lack of voting materials and incorrect precincts addresses. 


Few violent incidents were reported throughout the day:  in the West Department, gangs linked to Candidate Rene Preval tried to intimidate voters in few polling stations; in the Artibonite, supporters of Youri Latortue a senate candidate who is also a nephew of the current Prime Minister had several violent confrontations with Preval supporters which negatively impacted on voter turn out in the area; in Fonds Verrettes, local electoral authorities only allowed Preval?s representatives to access the polling stations.


At this stage, all signs suggest that for the Presidential and Legislative races, the majority of the candidates will have to prepare for a runoff. The major challenges for the Haitian electoral authorities and the OAS include:


1.Secure the ballots and the tally sheets to ensure a proper count.  Ballots can be used for possible recount in contested elections. This has been a major issue in Haiti?s past elections, which has often led to conflicts and turmoil.  This is a simple, straightforward step that can go a long way in eliminating any possible challenges or misunderstandings in the aftermath of this first round


2. Prevent a propaganda war over the upcoming results. A part of the foreign press seems to be in a hurry to present a winner before the Haitian electoral authorities do so. Be prepared.  According to the Electoral Law, elections results cannot be projected and are not final until officially announced and published by the Haitian Electoral Committee.


3.Upon closing the polling stations this evening, and during the next three days, electoral officials and observers must remain vigilant and manage to preempt any efforts by third parties to manipulate the results.