Haiti council unveils $55 million election budget
Haitian electoral authorities on Wednesday released details of a $55-million budget to organise a redo of an annulled presidential election that will not be underwritten by the US or monitored by EU observers.
With money cobbled together from Haiti's transitional government, the troubled country's Provisional Electoral Council hopes to organise two rounds of voting for president, some members of parliament and numerous municipal seats. A first-round presidential redo is scheduled for October 9.
The impoverished Caribbean nation has relied on the US and other international partners to fund much of its balloting costs. This time around, they are trying to go it alone after international partners disagreed with the decision to annul last year's disputed presidential vote.
Uder Antoine, the council's executive director, said they are requesting some $48 million from the caretaker government though he acknowledged they could get allotted less. They currently have some $6.5 million in an election fund. He said he didn't foresee problems organising a redo vote in October.
"We are doing the best we can to have a different kind of election than we've had in Haiti over the past 29 years," Antoine told The Associated Press. He said a Haitian electoral council never publicly released an election budget before.
SIMPLE BUDGETING MATTER
Last month, Washington announced it had suspended funding assistance for the redo balloting in Haiti. United States taxpayers already contributed $33 million for a three-round Haitian electoral cycle that was supposed to be resolved months ago.
US officials have framed the decision as a simple budgeting matter by Washington, which is Haiti's largest donor. Officials say the US requested the return of nearly $2 million of unspent assistance left in an election trust fund.
In an interview this week, Merten said he thought it was ultimately "a good thing for Haiti to take full ownership of its electoral process."