UN Efforts Give 'Exemplary Illustration of Diplomacy of Democratization,' Says Secretary-General: Rene Preval Wins Presidential Elections
Rene Preval, a close ally and supporter of President Jean-Bertrand Aristide and Prime Minister in his Government in 1991, had won the 17 December presidential elections in Haiti and took office on 7 February 1996.
According to a UN spokesperson, Mr. Preval had received 87.9 per cent and his runner-up only 2.5 per cent of the popular vote, while some 28 per cent of the registered voters had taken part in the elections.
On 6 November, Secretary-General Boutros Boutros-Ghali had reported (S/1995/922) a "clear victory" of the Lavalas platform--a political movement associated with President Aristide--in the legislative and local elections. The Lavalas had won 17 of 27 seats in the Senate and 66 of 83 seats in the Chamber of Deputies, as well as 102 of 133 mayorships and 345 of 562 Conseils d'administration de sections communales.
"While those parties that boycotted the elections claimed credit for the low voter turnout, it could in fact have resulted from factors such as the lack of civic education, fatigue, low-key campaigning and preoccupation with economic issues", the Secretary-General said. Overall, the elections had been carried out in an "environment free of fear, violence and intimidation", he stressed.
On 15 October, in addressing a ceremony in Port-au-Prince to celebrate the first anniversary of President Aristide's return to power, the Secretary-General declared: "I see the work done in Haiti as an exemplary illustration of that diplomacy of democratization of which I am an ever more ardent advocate, and which today constitutes one of the basic objectives to be adopted by the international community."
Democratization was a "difficult undertaking", requiring the "awakening of the civic conscience", and the "culture of democracy must take increasingly deeper root within the country", he stated.
The Security Council on 16 November, in commending the Government of Haiti for holding local and legislative elections in a "peaceful and non-violent environment", stressed that "continued engagement and commitment" of all Haitian parties was necessary to the successful organization of "free, fair and peaceful presidential elections". …