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Haiti’s President Martelly Announces Provisional Electoral Council

PORT-AU-PRINCE, Haiti  — Haiti’s President Michel Martelly issued on Tuesday an executive order to appoint a new provisional electoral council as provided by a political agreement signed in March to facilitate crucial legislative and local elections to avoid a looming political crisis in the Caribbean country.

In the executive order, Martelly named nine members of the electoral council, but only one of them, Fritzto Canton, is new, because the eight others, who were already appointed, have been confirmed in their seats by the institutions that selected them.

The reappointment was necessary because the executive order turned the Transitory Committee of the Permanent Electoral Council into a new provisional electoral council as required by an agreement concluded two months ago between Haitian political protagonists.

“President Martelly is doing all in his power to make sure that the elections are held this year and the official appointment of the new electoral council is one additional step toward that goal,” Martelly’s spokesman, Lucien Jura, told HCNN on Tuesday.

The nine-member electoral council is composed of members chosen by each of the three branches of the state. The executive branch picked Margaret G. Saint-Louis, Chantale Raymond and Frizto Canton; parliament chose Marie Cluny Dumay Miracles, Pierre Simon Georges and Néhémy Joseph, while the judiciary chose Applys Felix, Carole Floreal Duclervil and Léopold Berlanger.

Even after being independently chosen by different state institutions,  Martelly was required to officially appoint them through an executive order published in the official newspaper of the republic, Le Moniteur, before they can be allowed to take office.

The current developments are part of the conclusion of an agreement signed on March 14 by  Martelly, representatives of parliament and about 50 leaders of political parties, in the framework of an inter-Haitian dialogue moderated by Cardinal Chibly Langlois of the Catholic Church Episcopal Conference.

The legislative and local elections, which are expected to take place no later than Oct. 26, will provide for the renewal of two-thirds of the 30-member senate, the entire lower chamber and scores of local government entities around the country.

Government opponents in the Haitian senate continue to block the passage of amendments, already approved by the lower chamber, to an existing electoral law that contains inapplicable provisions that could make the elections impossible.

However, Article 12 of the agreement provides that the electoral council may bypass the inapplicable provisions, should parliament fail to approve the proposed amendments.

Parliament will become completely dysfunctional if elections are not organized in time to allow the new legislature to be inaugurated by the constitutional deadline of the second Monday of January 2015.


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