PORT-AU-PRINCE, Haiti, Wednesday January 14, 2015, CMC – Law makers failed to pass new legislation that would have resulted in long-delayed elections in Haiti leading to the legislature being dissolved.
The legislators had been expected to vote on an electoral law aimed at ending the political stand-off between President Michel Martelly and the opposition, but their failure to vote on the measure means that Martelly now effectively rules the country by decree.
Martelly had been trying to secure backing for a US-sanctioned plan to postpone elections but Fanmi Lavalas, the party that was once led by former president Jean Bertrand Aristide and which has been at the forefront of anti-government protests, said it was not part of the agreement.
The opposition parties have since announced plans for more street demonstrations to force Martelly out of office.
“Martelly will not be able to hold onto power. He is not going to be able to remain. We’re not going to stop until he leaves,” said attorney Andre Michel, an opposition member.
The opposition members have accused President Martelly of corruption and abuse of power and say he wanted to derail the election deal to rule by decree.
Mid-term Senate elections had been originally due in May 2012, while local polls are three years behind schedule.
The accord was expected to have resulted in the approval of a “consensus” government that could include Evans Paul, the president’s new choice for prime minister to replace Laurent Lamothe, who resigned in December.
The agreement would also extend the terms of the Senate and the Chamber of Deputies.
Martelly has been meeting with several social and political groups in a bid to pave the way for the holding of the long-delayed election to renew two-thirds of the 30-member Senate, the entire Lower Chamber and hundreds of local government bodies.
Out of the 30 senate members, only 20 remain in office, and amendments to an existing electoral law are required to facilitate the vote.
The new agreement would have extended the terms of the deputies until April 24 and senators until September 9.
Meanwhile, the top United Nations official in Haiti joined the ambassadors of several countries in deploring the fact that the Haitian parliament became “dysfunctional” after failing to hold elections within its constitutional framework.
In a statement, Sandra Honoré, the Special Representative of the UN Secretary-General in Haiti, and other members of the international community represented in the “Core Group” – Brazil, Canada, France, Spain, the United States and the European Union – urged all Haitian stakeholders to form a consensus government.
“The ‘Core Group’ is gravely concerned that the Haitian Parliament has become dysfunctional due to the fact that elections have not been held within the constitutional timeframe,” said a statement released by the UN Stabilization Mission in Haiti MINUSTAH.
As a result, the “Core Group” expressed its support to President Martelly in the exercise of his constitutional duty to ensure the regular functioning of institutions.
The “Core Group” said it trusted that the Executive and all the political actors will act with “responsibility and restraint” and that it welcomed the Political Accord recently concluded between President Martelly and several opposition parties and called on all parties to join in on consensus in the “best interest” of the nation.
“Recognizing the recent efforts made by the President and other actors to rebuild confidence in the political process, the Core Group further calls on all stakeholders to continue negotiations with the objective of forming, as a matter of urgency, a consensus Government,” the Group said.
Haiti must also form a Provisional Electoral Council in the spirit of Article 289 of its national Constitution, and organise, as soon as technically feasible, inclusive, fair, and transparent elections in 2015, in order to consolidate democracy and stability.