It Takes More than a President

  • Posted on: 19 April 2006
  • By: Bryan Schaaf
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After the Presidential election of February 7th 2006 Haiti has fallen off the media’s radar. Equally as important as the Presidential elections are the Parliamentary elections, the runoffs of which are set to take place this Friday April 21st. The positive aspect of this decline in media attention is the fortunate decrease in kidnappings that once held the Haitian population at bay. Unfortunately the lack of attention given to the upcoming Parliamentary elections is the negative aspect.
I understand why this event isn’t garnering the same attention as the February 7th election it’s simply not as sexy. But the sexiness of the Presidential elections was somewhat created by the people, the strong turnout at the polls, the heated campaigns, the local media coverage, the chronic tumultuous political history, etc. That is not the case for senators and deputies vying for seats in the bicameral house. Instead the mood is as if the country is now in the hands of the President, although the constitution dictates he can’t perform his duties without an acting Parliament. In the streets there is little talk of elections except it will be a day off of work for most. Often people are unaware that this Friday is just as much a part of this country’s future as February 7th was. But they need to because good governance is dependant on the equal weight assigned by the constitution to the 3 branches, executive, legislative and judicial. That equality should be balanced by a somewhat equal representation at the polls. Without that balance you have less of an equal representation and in Haiti’s history that has often been the unfortunate case.
Although I am positive that President elect Preval has all the right intentions for his country and people I’m not sure the machine he will face has the same good intentions. And what he will need to defeat the machine is again a large turnout at the polls, not to vote for ‘Number One’ but for the candidates that represent the people and their communities. If not and Haiti in just a few years is asking why haven’t things changed they can start by looking at the 2006 Parliamentary elections.