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Electoral observations.

At the request of the government of Haiti, the Organization of American States (OAS) sent a team of approximately 200 people to observe the electoral process which culminated on December 16, 1990 with the election of Jean Bertrand Aristide. This mission was composed of people from 22 member countries and four observer nations.

OAS participation began during the voter registration which took place in October. Initially, the Organization placed approximately 35 observers in-country to monitor this specific activity. During the following months, the number of observers increased to about 185, distributed between the nine regional capitals which acted as the departmental electoral bureaus. Technical, administrative and logistical support was provided by a staff of 15 persons.

A "quick count" on presidential election returns was effected based on the results noted by the observers at the 90 electoral booths covered at the close of voting. Based on this sample, a statistical extrapolation was made which projected the outcome of the elections. This information was obtained at dawn on December 17 and provided to the Haitian Provisional Electoral Council to serve as an indicator of what the final electoral results would be.

It is estimated by OAS officials that voter turnout was approximately 65 percent of Haiti's registered voters, an impressive showing and evidence of the ultimate success of the mission. In a session of the OAS Permanent Council on December 20, Secretary General Joao Clemente Baena Soares remarked "it is my conclusion that in Haiti free and democratic elections were carried out."

Ambassador Baena Soares also praised the participation of the Caribbean Community (CARICOM), a sub-regional organization for economic and trade development. "I wish to express my great appreciation for the effort carried out by CARICOM. There was complete communication and cooperation on all levels of activity."

In addition, the Secretary General emphasized, "there was a high level of participation and the populace was able to freely express its will. It was an election organized with seriousness and with liberty." The OAS will maintain a presence in Haiti until president-elect Aristide takes office on February 7, 1991.

On November 11, the Secretary General led another OAS delegation to observe the voting process in Guatemala. A team of OAS officials returned in January to observe the runoff election, in which Jorge Serrano won the presidency.
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Title Annotation:Organization of American States observer status during the elections in Haiti
Publication:Americas (English Edition)
Date:Nov 1, 1990
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