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Cablegate: Haitian Political Parties: Form an Inclusive New

VZCZCXRO7358
PP RUEHQU
DE RUEHPU #0589/01 1151742
ZNY CCCCC ZZH
P 241742Z APR 08
FM AMEMBASSY PORT AU PRINCE
TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC PRIORITY 8065
INFO RUEHZH/HAITI COLLECTIVE PRIORITY
RUEHBR/AMEMBASSY BRASILIA PRIORITY 1897
RUEHSA/AMEMBASSY PRETORIA PRIORITY 1689
RUEHQU/AMCONSUL QUEBEC PRIORITY 1117
RUMIAAA/HQ USSOUTHCOM J2 MIAMI FL PRIORITY
RUCNDT/USMISSION USUN NEW YORK PRIORITY 1495

C O N F I D E N T I A L SECTION 01 OF 02 PORT AU PRINCE 000589

SIPDIS

SIPDIS

STATE FOR WHA/EX AND WHA/CAR
S/CRS
SOUTHCOM ALSO FOR POLAD
STATE PASS AID FOR LAC/CAR
INR/IAA
WHA/EX PLEASE PASS USOAS

E.O. 12958: DECL: 04/24/2018
TAGS: PGOV PREL KDEM HA
SUBJECT: HAITIAN POLITICAL PARTIES: FORM AN INCLUSIVE NEW
GOVERNMENT QUICKLY

REF: PORT AU PRINCE 559

PORT AU PR 00000589 001.2 OF 002


Classified By: Ambassador Janet A. Sanderson for reasons 1.4 (b) and (d ).

1. (C) Summary: Political parties complain they were largely
ignored by President Preval during the demonstrations of
April 3 to 12. Despite many of these parties being
represented in the Alexis government, nearly all parties
supported the vote that dismissed it, arguing that the mass
demonstrations proved Alexis had lost the people's
confidence. Following the April 12 vote of no-confidence
against Prime Minister Jacques-Edouard Alexis, parties are
pressing their demands in the selection process on President
Preval as he tries to form a new government. The following
is a survey of reactions of several major political parties
-- OPL, Fusion, Union, and Artibonite in Action -- to the
events of early April. (Note: Viewpoints of Fanmi Lavalas
and Lespwa will be reported septel. End note) All party
sources interviewed agreed on the urgent need for Preval to
nominate a new Prime Minster so that the country can repair
the damage to government authority and Haiti's reputation
caused by the destructive street demonstr
ations. President Preval is currently consulting with the
parties, but there is as of yet no indication of how much
their input will sway his choice of a new Prime Minster and
government. End summary.

OPL: Don't lose faith in Haiti!
----------------

2. (C) OPL President Edgar Leblanc told the Ambassador April
18 that Preval should nominate a new Prime Minister quickly,
and in doing so draw on opinions from many sectors of Haitian
society. OPL saw several agendas at work during the
protests, all arising from rising food prices and general
poverty, but also from criminal and political elements. He
cited GOH efforts to arrest drug traffickers, as well as
political maneuverings by ''certain political actors,'' as
contributing factors. He thought that weakness of the HNP
and MINUSTAH's limited mandate had hindered efforts to quell
the violence. Leblanc said earlier intervention on the part
of Preval would have prevented much damage to property, to
Haiti's reputation and to Preval's own political capital.

3. (C) OPL supported the censure of PM Alexis. During the
riots, it became clear that the GOH had lost the confidence
of the people and ''no longer existed.'' The government must
regain the confidence of the people, which would require a
new Prime Minister. The new Government would have to focus
on job creation, encouraging investment, and consolidating
state institutions. Despite the efforts of the last two
years, Haiti is still trapped in a transitional phase,
according to Leblanc. The National Strategy for Growth and
Poverty Reduction accurately describes the steps needed in
the short and medium term.

Fusion: Heal the nation's wounds.
-----------------------

4. (C) Fusion spokesperson Micha Gaillard told Poloffs
throughout the protests that Preval did not comprehend the
desperate hunger of the Haitian people. Fusion supported the
interpellation and the Senate vote that dismissed PM
Alexis. Gaillard argued the GOH needed new political
leaders, with a new economic policy and a resumption of the
national dialogue promised by Preval at the outset of his
term. There is a disconnect between the Haitian people and
their leaders that needs to be mended, he said. The new PM
should be someone who can heal the wounds that emerged during
the demonstrations and unite the nation. Thus, they must be
able to communicate effectively with everyone, from the
hungry man on the street, to the private sector and political
parties, to the international community. The process of
selecting a new Prime Minster must include diverse political
parties, the private sector and civil society. Gaillard
noted that Preval had not reached out to Fusion until several
days after the protests ended.

Union: Bad idea, but now let's move on.
-----------------------

5. (C) Union president Chavannes Jeune told Poloff in
conversations April 11 and 14 that while the removal of PM
Alexis was a setback for the government and the country,
changes in the government were necessary to remedy the
current situation. Jeune saw a need for a rapid appointment
of a new Prime Minister. He expected at least five current
ministers to remain in the Cabinet, though he could not
speculate which ones. He expected Union would have at least
one Cabinet position. (Note: Union currently holds one
Cabinet position, the Minister of Environment. End note.)
Like other political parties, Union was largely ignored by
Preval and his advisors during the heat of the protests.

LAAA: It's our turn.
---------------------

6. (C) Senator Youri Latortue, leader of Artibonite in
Action (LAAA), who ultimately helped engineer the downfall of
PM Alexis, accurately predicted to the Canadian Ambassador
Alexis' fall before it happened. LAAA expects to participate
in decisions on future governments, according to Latortue.
(Note: Both originally from Gonaives in the Artibonite
Valley, PM Alexis and Senator Latortue have a longstanding,
well-publicized political rivalry. It was Senator Latortue
who called for the Senate to vote on Alexis' fate in the
April 12 Senate interpellation (reftel). End note.)

7. (C) Comment: The common message from most political
parties is that the new government must be nominated quickly
and be broadly inclusive. They deem Preval's first
''coalition government'' headed by Alexis as insufficient in
that regard. Nevertheless, former President Aristide's Fanmi
Lavalas party and its offshoots continue to feel left out
(septel). Preval must be careful in his treatment of the
parties, many of whom felt ignored by the President during
the riots. Though he has now invited most major parties to
meet with him and express their views on the new Prime
Minister, it is far from certain he will take their opinions
into account when making his selection. Parties that feel
snubbed will be more likely to oppose the Parliament's
approval of the next government.
SANDERSON

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