Lavalas candidate barred from elections

Thursday, September 15, 2005

Lavalas candidate, Gerard Jean-Juste has been denied an application to be a candidate for president in the upcoming elections. The party had attempted to register the candidancy for him, but electoral council official Jaccillon Barthélemy says that applications have to be made in person. The party members brought a letter given to them by Jean-Juste showing his intentions to run. The priest has been jailed since July, because accused of having involvement in the murder of journalist Jacques Roche. Jean-Juste was in Miami at the time of the murder and has denied any involvement. He has yet to be charged in relation to the crime.

Louis Gérard Gilles, a former Lavalas senator and party representative, says that they plan to take the decision to court saying, "The council has no authority to prevent a candidate from registering," and "nothing in the constitution requires he should be present in person." Hundreds of Lavalas supporters marched the electoral council on Tuesday, but were stopped by UN peacekeepers.

The decision is seen as a potential catalyst for the Lavalas family to boycott the upcoming elections. The party is currently split among moderates and hard-line supporters (those closer to Aristide). This decision could swing power towards the hard-liners. If Lavalas was to boycott the elections it could mean a major knock to the next government's legitimacy, as Lavalas is the country's largest party.