Haiti: the elections will change nothing
Published 17/11/2010 | 15:39
Haiti has been the western hemisphere's ultimate basket case whether or not its governments are elected so the presidential election this month offers little hope of change.
A new helmsman will emerge from the presidential elections on November 28. That is all that can predicted with certainty.
At worst the next leader will be another inglorious figure in the tradition of former presidents François "Papa Doc" Duvalier and Jean Bertrand Aristide. At best the country may begin a slow recovery from the depths of the twin hardships of disaster and disease.
Haiti remains in ruins less than a year after a devastating earthquake killed 300,000. A cholera outbreak is spreading fast having already killed 1,000 and hospitalised tens of thousands more.
The consequent frustration of the masses have boiled over into riots that threaten not only the vote but the future of the humitarian operations that is keeping half the population alive.
President Rene Preval must stand down having served a single four year term. He was missing in action when the earthquake struck and will not be missed.
Those jockeying to succeed him are from the political elite that has pushed the country to its knees. One measure of their standing is the widespread regret within Haiti and beyond that the rapper Wyclef Jean was barred from standing by resident rules.
The president is backing Jude Celestin, who's principal platform is to allow the controversial former President Aristide – who was forced out by the US – to return from South African exile.
The principal challenger is former first lady Mirlande Manigat, who's husband Leslie, was overthrow in a coup in 1988.
To add farce to the mix the third placed candidate in the polls is Michel "Sweet Mickey" Martelly, a Haitian music star.
Political factions have been accused of using the cholera outbreak to instigate riots. The outcome of the elections is already tarnished.