Haiti’s First Lady Sophia Martelly’s attorney says the decision by the country’s elections dispute panel to block her from running for a seat in the Haitian Senate is unfair and he’s studying the decision to decide his next steps.
“We think that the law has not been respected and the civil and constitutional rights of the first lady have been violated,” Gregory Mayard-Paul told the Miami Herald.
Martelly’s hopes of a political career as a member of Haiti’s 30-seat Senate were dashed Tuesday when it was revealed that the National Bureau of Electoral Disputes (BCEN) had rejected her candidacy. The bureau has yet to publicly announce its decision.
All decisions taken by the BCEN, which includes two members of the Provisional Electoral Council (CEP), two lawyers and a judge, are supposed to be final.
Martelly, who has never held political office, had hoped to represent the West department, which includes Port-au-Prince, when she filed last month to run for the Haitian Senate. But her candidacy was quickly challenged on the grounds that she was an American citizen, and as had served in an official capacity in her husband Michel Martelly’s administration on the commission to fight hunger. As the head of that commission, critics said, Martelly required the necessary certificate — a décharge — to show that she had not misused any of the public funds in her care.
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