doc. 9 rev. 1
September 1988
Original: English




166.          Foreign diplomats encouraged the Haitian opposition leaders to unite around a single candidate and to participate in the January 17, 1988 elections.  These diplomats attempted to find a candidate acceptable both to the military and the voters.  The four opposition leaders rejected this plan indicating that the situation was such that a middle-ground candidate did not exist.


          167.          On January 1, 1988, Lt. Gen. Namphy, in his New Year's message to the nation, appealed for national unity, and called for an "historic commitment".  "The historic commitment we should have made a few months ago can still be made" he said, because a consensus, "even a minimal one," can be achieved and "bear good fruit".


          168.          A number of human rights groups, all three labor unions and other popular organization issued on January 1, 1988 a "Declaration of the Haitian People in Support of Democracy following the November 29 massacre".  This Declaration states that any elections organized by the CNG are unconstitutional, it demands that the original CEP be reinstated and ask for the constitution of a new provisional government "not related to the macoute dictatorship", which would be able to represent the will of the people for change and to guarantee free and honest elections, pursuant to the constitution.


          169.          The Committee for Democratic Agreement, as well as civic and religious leaders, threatened a boycott to discredit the result of the January 17th elections and to ultimately topple the military government headed by Lt. Gen. Namphy.  Messrs. Louis Dejoie II and Sylvio Claude, two of these candidates, again called for a multinational peace/keeping force to guarantee the elections.


          170.          Mr. Leslie Manigat, president of the Assembly of Progressive National Democrats, announced that he would participate in the elections scheduled for January 17, 1988 by the military government.  Mr. Manigat, in his television address, emphasized that he would be vigilant and would withdraw from the race if there was obvious manipulation or irregularities.


          171.          The original CEP asked other democrats not to participate in the military-run election so as not to "walk on our backs" and so as to "honor the dead of November 29".  Seven presidential candidates, accounting for approximately 90% of the electorate, refused to participate.


          172.          In addition, 64 candidates running for deputy and senator announced that they were withdrawing from the elections to protest the CNG headed by Lt. Gen. Namphy.  In their document the candidates stated they were acting "within the same framework" as the leaders of the four major political parties and the top contenders in the presidential race, who were acting within the framework of the Committee for Democratic Agreement.


          173.          On January 4, 1988, the elections for the CASECS (Administrative Councils for the Communal Sections) scheduled for January 17, 1988 were postponed until January 31, 1988.


          174.          The CNG-appointed Electoral Council disqualified 11 of the self-proclaimed presidential candidates, including eight of the Duvalierists who had been disqualified by the original CEP.


          175.          On January 15, 1988, the Haitian Supreme Court, which according to the new Electoral Law had the power to review decisions of the CNG appointed Electoral Council, banned the candidacy of 5 of the 8 Duvalierists from participating in the January 17 elections.  The Supreme Court permitted three lesser known "Duvalierists" to run.  Unlike the violence caused by the disqualifications on November 2, 1987, there was no violence reported at this time.


          176.          On January 16, 1988, the day before the new elections, the opposition called a general strike and brought Port-au-Prince to a virtual standstill.  There was little campaigning in this election and the atmosphere of hope prevalent in November was reportedly replaced by an atmosphere of defeat.


          177.          Seven former candidates agreed to participate in the military elections including Hubert de Ronceray, Grégoire Eugene and Leslie Manigat.  On January 17, 1988 the elections were held and Haitian troops in armored personnel carriers patrolled the streets of Port-au-Prince.  No violence marred the elections.


          178.          Irregularities were reportedly widespread as there was no attempt to maintain secrecy of the ballot.  Persons under the age of eighteen were permitted to vote, multiple voting was disregarded as were frequent cases of vote fraud.59



c.       The Results of the January 17, 1988 Elections


          179.          The opposition leaders denounced the elections and proclaimed the boycott a success.  The CNG-appointed Electoral Council, on the other hand, stated that Mr. Leslie Manigat had received 534,080 votes out of 1,062,016; and proclaimed that he had "won" the elections with 50.3% of the vote, thereby avoiding the necessity of a runoff.


          180.          The opposition stated that only 80,000 to 250,000 Haitians voted, at best 8% of the country's three million eligible voters.  Given the success of the boycott, the opposition leaders stated that they would seek the annulment of the elections and would continue to work for the resignation of the CNG.


          181.          The opposition (the CED) called upon the Haitian people to observe a nationwide general strike on Saturday, February 6, 1988, and called for February 7, 1988 to be observed as a day of national mourning and censure.


          182.          Twenty-four hours before the formation of the new Haitian Government, Major General Williams Regala withdrew from active service in the Armed Forces so that he could be named Minister of the Interior and National Defense.


          183.          Candidates who ran in the January 17, 1988 elections, such as Grégoire Eugene and Hubert de Ronceray, condemned the irregularities of the January 17 elections.  Rev. Sylvio Claude stated that there had been no elections on January 17, 1988, there had been an "appointment".


          184.          The Episcopal Conference of Haiti criticized the way the recent general election in Haiti had been held.  In a message read by Msgr. Joseph Lafontant, Auxiliary Bishop of Port-au-Prince, the Episcopal Conference stated that it felt the January 17 elections had not been free elections nor had they been serious elections.  The Haitian Bishops denounced the fact that votes had been cast by children, and by the insane, that multiple voting by the same person was allowed, and that the voting was not by secret ballot.


          185.          In addition, the Bishops denounced the campaign being waged against the Church, the arrest of many people in Haiti on the pretext that they were campaigning against the elections, and the persecution and arrest of peasant group leaders, pastoral authorities and Misyon Alfa literacy campaign group leaders.



d.       The Inauguration of Leslie Manigat on February 7, 1988


          186.          On February 7, 1988, Leslie Manigat, a former professor of political science, who served as director of the Haitian Foreign Ministry of Political Affairs office from 1957-1960 until he broke with François Duvalier in 1960, and then spent 23 years in exile in France, the United States and Venezuela, was inaugurated President of Haiti.


          187.          President Manigat, in his inaugural speech, called for national reconciliation with the opposition which had boycotted the election from which he had emerged the President.


          188.          Members of the opposition who boycotted the elections, such as Mr. Marc Bazin, called on President Manigat to investigate the killings of the candidates Athis and Volel and the killings on November 29, in order to establish his legitimacy and also as to issue a calendar in order to implement various measures stipulated in the constitution, such as administrative decentralization, the formation of departmental assemblies and the creation of a court of accounts.


          189.          The Episcopal Conference on January 23, 1988, had denounced the "abstention of the majority" of the population during the January 17, 1988 elections and the widespread fraud as regards those who did participate.  The Bishops warned that the January elections, in spite of the fact that they did not result in deaths, constituted a challenge to the political morale of the country.  The Church stated that "what is at issue here is the future of the people, their development and their progress".  Contradicting the notion that Mr. Manigat's government was a democracy, the Bishops asked "How is one to envisage the future of the people outside of a democratic society?"  The Church warned the people not to resort to violence because violence would only engender more violence, and called for a dialogue among the different representative sectors of the population.


          190.          A dialogue was never initiated.  President Manigat appointed a cabinet dominated by figures closely connected to the Duvalier period.  Maj. Gen. Williams Regala who had been placed on "inactive" duty was able to serve as Minister of Defense.  Article 269 of the Constitution prescribes that the Police come under the jurisdiction of the Justice Ministry when, in fact, it remains under the control of the Ministry of the Interior.  Lt. Gen. Namphy's self-designation as Commander-in-Chief prior to the January 17, 1988 elections was not questioned, or submitted to the National Assembly as stipulated by the Constitution.  Although a civilian President was installed there was no doubt that the military held on to power.


          191.          As regards the new Haitian Parliament, since no candidates from the boycotting parties participated in the elections, Jean-Claude Duvalier's claim from exile of his continuing popularity and the assertion that 60% of the members of the National Assembly are Duvalierists is probably accurate.60   It can be expected that if any one can identify who is a Duvalierist in Haiti that person is Jean-Claude Duvalier.  This in flagrant contradiction with Article 291 of the constitution which prevents any Duvalierist from becoming a candidate for public office for a period of ten years.


          192.          Three former Duvalierist Ministers whose goods had been confiscated by the CNG were entitled to a restitution of their property pursuant to a judicial decision under the new Manigat Government.  Four human rights organizations protested the "scandalous" restitution measure in favor of Mr. Frantz Merceron, Jean-Robert Estimé, Mario Théard and Jean Sambour.  By March 19, 1988 the Foreign Minister stated that these judicial measures did not exist and had not been taken.61


                193.          As regards the Investigative Commission set up to shed light on the November 29 massacre, the members of this Commission were unable to identify the individuals responsible.62   The report was allegedly completed on January 15, 1988, but it was not made public until April.  Although not in a position to identify individual perpetrators the "Committee feels there is reason to believe the macoutes and the Duvalierists collectively reduced to fighting banishment and forced to defend themselves, might have been the perpetrators of the acts".


          194.          It concludes that "the 29 November elections, had they been held, would have contributed to the taking of power by the candidates of the national Concerted Action Front, and these candidates would have presented a basically anti-American alternative".  



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 59.          See, James Rupert"  "Haitians Boycott vote; No Violence Reported" Washington Post, January 18, 1988 who stated that "The boycott - and widespread voting irregularities observed by Haitian and foreign journalists - affirmed the suspicions of many Haitians that the election was illegitimate."  Also, see Joseph B. Treaster:  "New Elections Held by Haiti Leaders;  Vote Appears Law".  New York Times, January 18, 1988 who stated that "Haiti's army-dominated Government held its presidential elections today, but voting appeared to be light, and irregularities, from multiple voting to voting by youths under the minimum age of 18, appeared widespread."  This journalist also affirmed that "No attempt at secret balloting was made in most voting places visited by foreign journalists." Also, see, Howard French:  "Few voters in Evidence at Provincial Polling Place", The New York Times, January 18, 1988.  Also see:  Clara Germani: "Haiti's new leader seen as all over the political map" in the Christian Science Monitor, January 26, 1988, who stated that "Political observers here suspect election rigging because of the many reports of polling irregularities, of soldiers handing out Manigat ballots, and the prohibition of observers in the vote-counting process."

          60.          Paris Match, Interview with Jean-Claude Duvalier entitled "Baby Doc:  Je Paye Pour Papa Doc".  February 12, 1988.

          61.          See, Le Nouvelliste:  "Protestation après une levée de séquestre en faveur d'anciens ministres du régime Duvalier."  March 8, 1988.

          62.          See, Le Nouvelliste, April 4, 1988.