The United Nations and its international partners have pledged full “technical, logistical and material” support to help Haiti hold timely elections, viewed as a crucial step in renewing the State after the huge human and material losses suffered in January’s devastating earthquake.
Presidential elections are due next February, and legislative polls before that. A task force, comprising representatives of the UN, Haiti, the Caribbean Community (CARICOM), the Organization of American States (OAS), the European Union (EU), Brazil, Canada and the United States, held its first meeting yesterday in Port-au-Prince, the capital, as part of an effort to provide coordinated international support for the forthcoming polls.
“The Task Force took stock of the considerable challenges posed by the effects of the 12 January earthquake on electoral preparations, including in particular on the registration of voters and the update of electoral lists, which it was agreed would begin as soon as possible,” the UN Stabilization Mission in Haiti (MINUSTAH) said in a news release.
The meeting was co-chaired by Haitian President René Préval and Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon’s Special Representative Edmond Mulet.
“Under the leadership of the Government of Haiti, Task Force members offered to provide all necessary technical, logistical and material assistance to the electoral process, with a view to supporting the Government’s efforts to ensure participatory, legitimate and timely elections,” the release said.
In March, dozens of nations and organizations pledged some $9.9 billion in immediate and long-term aid to help Haiti recover and rebuild after the quake, which killed more than 200,000 people, left 1.3 million more homeless and destroyed countless buildings, including Government facilities, hospitals and schools.
In his most recent report to the Security Council in April, Mr. Ban said the elections in early 2011 were central to the Government’s vision for a renewed State, a vision he appealed to the international community to support.