U.S. Assistance for the Electoral Process

NSIAD-96-147: Published: Jul 5, 1996. Publicly Released: Jul 22, 1996.

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Pursuant to a congressional request, GAO reviewed U.S. efforts to foster democratic elections and increased respect for human rights in Haiti, focusing on: (1) how the elections in Haiti were conducted; (2) the nature and extent of U.S. support for Haitian elections; (3) whether election assistance funds were properly controlled and spent; and (4) the progress made in investigating allegations of politically motivated killings.

GAO found that: (1) during Haiti's parliamentary and local elections in June 1995, international observers noted various irregularities, but subsequent elections were less troubled; (2) most observers agreed that the presidential elections were generally peaceful, citizens were free to vote, organized fraud was not evident, and technical irregularities did not affect the election's outcome; (3) the U.S. government spent about $18.8 million in support of Haiti's parliamentary, local, and presidential elections, including $9.1 million through a United Nations trust fund, $6 million by U.S. nongovernmental organizations, and $3.7 million to support the efforts of the Organization of American States to observe the elections; (4) without U.S. financial and diplomatic support, it is unlikely that the elections would have been held in time to inaugurate the president's successor in February 1996; (5) the Agency for International Development (AID) Inspector General found that adequate controls existed over the use of election support funds granted to the four U.S. nongovernmental organizations; and (6) the human rights situation in Haiti remains fragile and continues to concern the United States and international organizations, despite dramatic improvements.

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