Haiti after the Elections: Challenges for Préval’s First 100 Days

If René Préval, who is to be inaugurated as president on 14 May, acts decisively in his first 100 days and receives international backing, he can capitalise on an improved security situation to address some of the underlying causes of violence and crime. His government needs to disarm and demobilise gangs and strengthen the Haitian National Police (HNP) by professionalizing it and purging it of corrupt officers and politically-linked cells. The judicial system must also be overhauled, beginning with establishment of a joint international/national panel to review the cases of prisoners detained for long periods without trial. Haitians have high expectations that the new elected government will quickly improve their lives, and Préval needs to take advantage of a rare moment of optimism or the much suffering country could become the hemisphere’s first permanent failed state.