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January 24, 2015

UN Security Council heads to Haiti amid political instability

UN Security Council heads to Haiti amid political instability

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Saturday, January 24, 2015

Haiti
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Representatives of the United Nations Security Council’s (UNSC) fifteen member states flew to Haiti yesterday. The nation is moving to hold new elections with President Michel Martelly presently ruling by decree.

President Martelly, seen here in 2012, is ruling by decree after the collapse of parliament.
Image: World Economic Forum.

Martelly swore in a new Provisional Electoral Council (CEP) of nine members yesterday. It is Martelly’s fifth CEP in four years. Last month a presidential commission recommended the prior CEP’s resignation as part of a package of measures to move the country towards new elections. The commission was Martelly’s response to widespread anti-regime protests that started in October. The sometimes-violent protests were triggered by failure to hold elections, some due since 2011.

On January 12 the Senate was reduced to a defunct ten members, with sixteen required for a quorum. Amendments to electoral law were required by the Senate before elections due in 2011 could be held. Rival political factions were unable to resolve disagreements. The lower level of parliament, the Chamber of Deputies, also saw all 99 seats vacated.

Also due are municipal elections, with 4,000 local posts needing refilled. A presidential election is due this year and the constitution forbids a consecutive term for Martelly. CEP members were sworn in yesterday at the Supreme Court; the presidential commission also recommended a new head for the court.

This month Martelly installed a new cabinet including opposition members, amongst them appointing Evans Paul as Prime Minister. Paul replaces Laurent Lamothe who resigned last month at the request of Martelly’s commission. Paul was yesterday joined by foreign diplomats to welcome the new CEP in Petionville, the CEP headquarters.

Protests continued around the nation yesterday, with anger directed at foreign leaders who have supported Martelly as well as the local regime. Brazil, Canada, France, Spain, the United States, the European Union, and the Organization of American States expressed in a joint statement “support to the president of the republic in the exercise of his constitutional duty to ensure the regular functioning of institutions and the continuity of the state” as parliament’s terms lapsed and power passed to Martelly alone.

The UN is unpopular in Haiti where many blame their peacekeeping force for a 2010 cholera outbreak, which is ongoing with 9,000 deaths. The UN has extended the peacekeeping mission for another year but does plan to reduce troops from around 5,000 to around 2,400. Anti-peacekeeper protests have also focussed on sexual abuse allegations.



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July 28, 2010

Wyclef Jean considering standing for president of Haiti

Wyclef Jean considering standing for president of Haiti

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Wednesday, July 28, 2010

Haiti
Other stories from Haiti
…More articles here
Location of Haiti

A map showing the location of Haiti

To write, edit, start or view other articles on Haiti, see the Haiti Portal
Flag of Haiti.svg

Wyclef Jean at a benefit in 2008.
Image: Seher Sikandar.

Following months of rumours, musician Wyclef Jean today confirmed that he is considering standing for the presidency of Haiti in the country’s November elections. A statement from his family and verified by his spokeswoman said that the 37-year-old had not yet announced his intention to run, but that media would be informed “if and when a decision is made”.

Jean, whose full name is Nel Ust Wycliffe Jean, is seen as popular among young Haitians. With current President René Préval unable to stand for re-election, so far no one has emerged as a clear successor. Despite growing up in the United States and becoming an award-winning rapper there, Jean was born near Port-au-Prince. He has already been appointed as a roving ambassador for his birth country and is the founder of the Yéle Haiti Foundation. He was at the forefront of fund-raising efforts following the devastating earthquake that struck Haiti in January, but his charity faced allegations of financial irregularities.

Rumours that he would stand for president had been circulating for months, but, until today’s statement, had been flatly denied.

“Wyclef’s commitment to his homeland and its youth is boundless”, said the statement from the Jean family, “and he will remain its greatest supporter regardless of whether he is part of the government moving forward.”

“At this time, Wyclef Jean has not announced his intent to run for Haitian president. If and when a decision is made, media will be alerted immediately.”

Michael Shifter of think tank Inter-American Dialogue said that the race was “wide open” but that Jean would be “a long-shot”. Acknowledging Jean’s popularity, he pointed out that the musician was “unaccustomed to the rough and tumble of Haitian politics.”

It is unclear whether Jean would be constitutionally able to become President. The constitution of Haiti lays out six conditions for candidates:

To be elected President of the Republic of Haiti, a candidate must:

a. Be a native-born Haitian and never have renounced Haitian nationality;
b. Have attained thirty-five (35) years of age by the election day;
c. Enjoy civil and political rights and never have been sentenced to death, personal restraint or penal servitude or the loss of civil rights for a crime of ordinary law;
d. Be the owner in Haiti of at least one real property and have his habitual residence in the country;
e. Have resided in the country for five (5) consecutive years before the date of the elections;
f. Have been relieved of his responsibilities if he has been handling public funds.

Whilst Jean is thought to meet most of these criteria, The Guardian reports that the rapper is “understood to have US citizenship”, and that this would make him ineligible. This was denied by Jean’s uncle Raymond Joseph, who is also Haitian Ambassador to the United States.

“He is not a US citizen and has never been,” Joseph told the Christian Science Monitor. The ambassador claimed that Jean had always remained a Haitian citizen.

Even then, it is unclear whether Jean will qualify under the residence clause, having spent much of his life in the United States. Ambassador Joseph admitted that this would be up to the Haiti’s Provisional Electoral Council to decide.



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December 20, 2005

Poll shows Préval with clear lead, but ineligible candidate Siméus could have presented a challenge

Poll shows Préval with clear lead, but ineligible candidate Siméus could have presented a challenge

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Tuesday, December 20, 2005

An opinion poll taken in Haiti from November 6 through 16th shows that former President René Préval leads the race of likely presidential candidates with 30% of those polled. However disqualified candidate Dumarsais Siméus received 34% of those polled, signalling that if Siméus were declared eligible it could be a tight race between those frontrunners. Siméus was declared ineligible in September due to his dual citizenship with Haiti and the United States. In December the Haitian Supreme Court ruled for a second time that Siméus is eligible under the Haitian Constitution. However the electoral council said that due to the ballots already being printed, Siméus could not be added in this election cycle. It should be noted that the poll was taken by a political organization called The Democracy Group, a political consulting firm hired by the National Organization for the Advancement of Haitians, a group for the restoration of democracy in Haiti to which Siméus is a member of. However a partner of the polling firm, Shawnta Watson Walcott, says that Siméus had nothing to do with the polling procedures and was not involved in any other way.

The poll also showed that among eligible candidates, Charles-Henry Baker received 7%, Marc Bazin received 5%, and Evans Paul received 5%. Also on the poll was the question of whether Siméus should appear on the ballot, to which 54% said that he should. When questioned with whom they trust most to lead the country, 31% said that Préval is that person. The polling is said to have a margin of error of 3.7% plus or minus with 703 Haitian voters questioned.



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December 8, 2005

Haitian Supreme Court rules Simeus eligible

Haitian Supreme Court rules Simeus eligible

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Thursday, December 8, 2005

On Thursday the supreme court of Haiti ruled for the second time that the candidancy of Dumarsais Siméus does not violate election laws and that he should be added to the ballot. Guerdy Lissade, a lawyer for Siméus said the decision was reached unanimously. In a written statement issued, Siméus commented that the decision is, “a victory for the Haitian people, who have suffered for too long under the oppression of the same little group of politicians who perpetuate a failed political system, broken economy and violence in our streets.”

This is the second time the court has made this ruling; doing so early in November. If the ruling were to be executed it would probably mean delaying the planned election date of January 8. The ballots for president have already been printed. The election officials reason for not including Siméus on the ballot during the first ruling was because Siméus has obtained U.S. citizenship and the Haitian constitution forbids foreign nationals from running for president. However the Court ruled that because Siméus never renounced his citizenship, he is eligible. However this time the Court said that the decision does not mean Siméus will be reinstated in time for the presidential elections in January. Michel Brunache says the ruling wouldn’t have an effect on the upcoming elections saying, “The court’s new decision has no impact, the issue of Simeus’ candidacy is closed.”

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November 25, 2005

Electoral council sets new dates for elections in Haiti

Electoral council sets new dates for elections in Haiti

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Friday, November 25, 2005

On Friday the electoral council decided push back the election dates for Haiti’s first presidential election since the overthrow of President Aristide in 2004. New dates have been set for January 8, 2006 for the first round of the presidential and legislative elections, following by a second (runoff) round on February 15. Municipal elections have been delayed to March 6, 2006.

According to the council they need more time to organize the election process. They say they would not be able to set up polling stations by the December 27 date set by Prime Minister Latortue a few days ago. They need time to organize poll workers who do not have experience. One council member said that “for practical reasons, it was inevitable that we would miss the deadline,” but that they would not miss the January 8 deadline currently set. They need time to print ballots, train poll workers, and distribute voter identification cards, an effort to fight potential voter fraud.

The Haitian constitution mandates a handover of power from one government to the next on February 7, but that will not be possible as elections will still be in progress. This is the 4th time the dates have been rescheduled.

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September 15, 2005

Lavalas candidate barred from elections

Lavalas candidate barred from elections – Wikinews, the free news source

Lavalas candidate barred from elections

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Thursday, September 15, 2005

Lavalas candidate, Gerard Jean-Juste has been denied an application to be a candidate for president in the upcoming elections. The party had attempted to register the candidancy for him, but electoral council official Jaccillon Barthélemy says that applications have to be made in person. The party members brought a letter given to them by Jean-Juste showing his intentions to run. The priest has been jailed since July, because accused of having involvement in the murder of journalist Jacques Roche. Jean-Juste was in Miami at the time of the murder and has denied any involvement. He has yet to be charged in relation to the crime.

Louis Gérard Gilles, a former Lavalas senator and party representative, says that they plan to take the decision to court saying, “The council has no authority to prevent a candidate from registering,” and “nothing in the constitution requires he should be present in person.” Hundreds of Lavalas supporters marched the electoral council on Tuesday, but were stopped by UN peacekeepers.

The decision is seen as a potential catalyst for the Lavalas family to boycott the upcoming elections. The party is currently split among moderates and hard-line supporters (those closer to Aristide). This decision could swing power towards the hard-liners. If Lavalas was to boycott the elections it could mean a major knock to the next government’s legitimacy, as Lavalas is the country’s largest party.

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