Tue | Sep 26, 2017

Haiti's Interim President Privert orders October 9 poll

Published:Wednesday | July 20, 2016 | 7:28 AM

PORT AU PRINCE, Haiti (CMC):
Haiti’s Interim President Jocelerme Privert has issued a decree ordering voters to elect a new head of state on October 9, according to a statement issued by the National Palace.

It said that Privert, who came to office in February after President Michel Martelly left without a successor being elected, had called on the estimated 5.8 million voters to elect a new president by that date.

The statement said that the issue had been widely discussed during the Cabinet meeting on Tuesday and quoted Privert as saying that “under no circumstances can we miss the deadline”.

He described the October 9 poll as “a key event for the country’s political future”.

Last Thursday, the Haitian parliament failed to meet for a fourth consecutive occasion to decide on the future of Privert, whose term expired more than a month ago.

As had been the case on previous occasions, there was no consensus regarding a quorum among the six political groups represented in the Parliament.

“The quorum is not found at the Chamber of Deputies so the session is again put in continuation,” said Cholzer Chancy, the President of the National Assembly. He gave no indication as to when the next session of Parliament will be held.

Privert came to office under the so-called February 5 agreement that was brokered after then President Michel Marelly left office without a successor being elected.

Under the terms of the agreement, Parliament had to elect an interim president for a term of 120 days and confirm a consensus prime minister.

Continuation of the elections process to the second round was scheduled to take place on April 24 and the new president, elected by that process, would have been installed on May 14, 2016.

But the election has not taken place and is now most likely to be held on October 9 and if a candidate does not receive the necessary amount of votes to prevent a second round, then that will take place on January 8, 2017 and the final election results will be published January 30, next year.

The October elections would also include voting for one-third of the Senate.

Under Haiti’s electoral law, only a president can convene voters to the polls. The country has missed several elections deadline since the October 25, 2015, presidential contest triggered allegations of fraud.

On Tuesday, Privert met with elections officials as well as the heads of the Office of National Identification and Haiti National Police to discuss voter registration and elections security.

Earlier this month, Prime Minister Jean Charles said the government would bear the cost of the October 9 presidential and legislative chamber elections after the United States and the European Union said they were not in a position to do so.

“The government will pay for the elections. So far, we have a large part of the money; now it is to complete the administrative work to allow the full financing of elections,” Charles said.

Charles said Haitian authorities had not sought the US financial support for the preparation of the elections, even as it recognised that assistance from the international community would be beneficial to meet the funds required to conduct the polls.

Last month, Washington said it would suspend funding to Haiti for the upcoming round of presidential and legislative elections even as it said that the decision should not be seen as a “reduction in US support for the development of Haiti.”

Haiti’s Foreign Minister is expected to address the Organization of American States (OAS) Permanent Council on the situation in the French-speaking Caribbean Community (CARICOM) country.