Voter turnout in last weekend’s Haitian Senate elections was very low; observers cited in a Reuters report, “Haitians Largely Boycott Senate Election,” estimated it at less than 10 percent, which an Al Jazeera report attributed in part to “resentment over the banning of a popular party”–Fanmi Lavalas–as well as disenchantment with the ruling government and poverty. A short Associated Press report published in the New York Times (4/20/09) about the vote had an odd spin on these issues:
The success of Sunday’s election was threatened by voter apathy and opposition from the Fanmi Lavalas Party of former President Jean-Bertrand Aristide. The party’s candidates were disqualified by Haiti’s provisional electoral council.
So the election’s “success” was threatened by a popular political party’s “opposition” to its own exclusion from the democratic process? It’s a rather peculiar idea of what constitutes a threat to democracy–especially as the Times article makes no mention of the fact that Aristide, Haiti’s twice-elected former president, remains in exile in South Africa, effectively barred from returning to Haiti after being overthrown five years ago in a U.S.-backed coup.