PORT-AU-PRINCE, HAITI - The European Union announced Thursday that it would neither finance the organization of the referendum scheduled for June 27 in Haiti nor send observers for this election, deeming the process insufficiently transparent and democratic in a country plagued by insecurity and political instability.
"The conditions for financial and technical support for the organization of the elections are absolutely not met at this stage, so we have refused to contribute to this process as it is," said the ambassador of the European Union to Haiti, Sylvie Tabesse.
"We consider that the process does not give all the guarantees of transparency and democracy that we would be entitled to expect, therefore … if the [Haitian] government asked us, we are not considering to respond positively for an observation mission," added the diplomat during a meeting with several journalists in the Haitian capital.
Since January 2020, President Jovenel Moise has governed by decrees and without checks and balances because of the lack of elections in recent years.
The president has drawn up a busy electoral calendar for 2021. In addition to the presidential, legislative and local elections in the fall, he wants to submit to a popular vote a project for a new constitution.
Last week, the United States renewed its call for the organization of elections in Haiti while affirming its opposition to a constitutional change.
Despite these reservations from the international community, the Haitian government refuses to give up its project.
"A referendum is an act of sovereignty. It mainly concerns Haitians: It is they who decide whether or not they want a referendum to change the constitution," Haitian Prime Minister Claude Joseph said Tuesday.
The organization of this election stirs criticism even in Moise’s camp because the chosen procedure does not seem to respect the provisions of the current constitution.
Written in 1987, after the fall of the Duvalier dictatorship, the text currently in force declares that "any popular consultation aimed at modifying the constitution by referendum is formally prohibited."
The grip of gangs in the country has worsened in recent months, allowing an upsurge in kidnappings for ransom in Port-au-Prince and in the provinces.