PORT-AU-PRINCE, HAITI -- (MARKET WIRE) -- 04/19/2006 -- Since their arrival in Haiti on Saturday, April 15, over 130 short-term observers from the International Mission for Monitoring Haitian Elections (IMMHE), and 20 long-term observers who have been in the country since last September, have now been deployed throughout Haiti's 10 departments to cover Friday's legislative and senatorial elections. The IMMHE represents the largest contingent of international observers in Haiti.
Upon their arrival in Port-au-Prince, these short-term observers from Canada, CARICOM countries and Japan have received intensive training covering all aspects of their mission in the field. The program included the revision of guidelines on evaluating electoral procedures for the second round of the national elections, as well as the resumption of the first round of elections for the Senate in the North-East Department and for deputies in 14 districts.
The IMMHE has a mandate to observe and monitor the entire process of presidential, legislative and municipal elections. It is led by a Steering Committee composed of independent electoral management bodies from eight countries: Brazil, Canada, Chile, the Dominican Republic, Jamaica, Mexico, Panama and the United States. The Steering Committee is chaired by Mr. Jean-Pierre Kingsley, Chief Electoral Officer of Canada.
Since last August, the IMMHE has benefited from the support of a team of experts and long-term observers who have allowed the Mission to put everything in place in order to fulfill its mandate. "Thanks to their contribution and expertise, we have recently published a complementary evaluation report on the February 7 elections," states Mr. Kingsley.
"This report contains a number of specific recommendations to improve the electoral process for the second round. Many of these recommendations have been implemented by the Provisional Electoral Council (CEP). Now, with the arrival and deployment of this group of short-term observers, we are entering another crucial phase in the observation and monitoring of the electoral process in this country."
The IMMHE is deploying its short-term observers in consultation with other international missions, including IFES, the European Union and La Francophonie, in order to ensure maximum coverage throughout the country. IMMHE observers will visit multiple polling centres in all of Haiti's departments to monitor the opening of polling stations, the voting process, ballot counting and tabulation, and the transmission of results.
The IMMHE observers are totally neutral and do not intervene in the electoral process.
In the coming weeks, the IMMHE will publish additional reports, including one on the April 21 elections, as well as a final comprehensive report at the end of its mandate in Haiti.