The Haitian elections of November 20th leave us with a lesson: Nothing has changed. The country which has been ravaged by the 2010 quake is still crying out for help, not least of which in the matter of administering elections. International aid, while generous, has not been enough to implement a fair and credible polls.
This is beset with fragile institutions and technological and logistical backwardness. These have forced the country to delay its elections several times and has been forced to establish provisional governments. After the last general election (even though preliminary results generated accusations of fraud), many Haitians have felt that the time has come to modernize their elections and save their democracy.
The Herculean task goes beyond just getting economic support from international circles. It also badly needs help from foreign elections experts and companies whose ideas and solutions would help Haiti get on the road to sustainable democracy.
The latest elections proved to be a total mess with several high-profile candidates preparing legal actions against the results. The situation has deteriorated to the point that observers are clamoring to force the government to leave behind its old and inefficient manual system.
It’s not only for its atrocious lack of transparency, but its very high cost. According to the Global Survey on the Cost of Registration and Elections, developed by the United Nations Development Programme and the International Foundation of Electoral Systems, the cost per voter is $11 in Haiti, which is nothing short of scandalous in such a poor country.
The international community must be continuing to help Haiti, not just economically, but now, more than ever, ensure that the starts modernizing their elections.
Democracy is, after all, everybody’s business.