Haiti reached an agreement between government and various opposition parties to postpone elections and keep Ariel Henry’s interim government until 2023. The pact signed last weekend also includes drafting a new constitution through a constituent assembly.
The general elections, scheduled for November this year, have been postponed until the end of 2022. Until that date, the parties have agreed to maintain a “government of national unity”, formed by a Council of Ministers, led by the current prime minister.
“I am certain that this Agreement will allow the conduct, in harmony and good understanding, of State affairs during the interim period that I want to be as short as possible, in order to achieve our main common objective, which is a return to normal operation of our democratic institutions”, declared the head of government.
Henry stressed that the agreement includes almost all the demands of different sectors of the country’s political life, including creating new public bodies, carrying out investigations into cases of embezzlement of the Petrocaribe program – which provides for the supply of Venezuelan oil at prices and conditions favorable to the Caribbean nations. They are also committed to releasing political prisoners and creating plans against the armed groups that control the country’s main cities.
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“The Popular and Democratic Sector has taken the decision to sign this agreement in order to organize consensus-based governability during the interim period,” said opposition leader of the Popular and Democratic Sector (SDP) and director of the Haitian Bar Association, André Michel.
Likewise, the leader of the “Fusion” party, Rosemond Pradel, defended that the “political agreement is a path towards a national project for the country. We are laying the foundation stones for the reconstruction of Haiti.”
The general elections were scheduled to take place on November 7, with a possible second round in January 2022. Last Thursday (8), the Provisional Electoral Council had already presented a list with 108 candidacies.
The new pact also replaces the proposal for a constitutional referendum inherited from the administration of Jovenel MOis for the commitment to convene a constituent assembly.
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a fractured country
Haiti has been going through a crisis since July, when President Jovenel Moïse was assassinated, followed by an earthquake measuring 7.2 on the Richter scale, which struck the country in August.
According to the Civil Protection Service, the earthquake caused 2,248 deaths, 12,763 injured, while 329 people remain missing, affecting about 40% of the population in the south of the country. Rescuers announced in the last week of August that they would stop searching to begin reconstruction. More than 53,000 homes were destroyed and 25,000 people remain in temporary shelters.
In the case of Moise’s murder, at least 20 people were arrested, including 18 Colombian paramilitaries hired by a US-based private security company. Authorities are also investigating the current prime minister’s alleged links to the murder.
“Actions to create confusion and prevent justice from being done cannot occur. The real culprits, the intellectual authors and those responsible for the assassination of President Jovenel Moïse, will be tried and punished for their actions,” Henry assured.
Edition: Arturo Hartmann